Instead of the typical vigilante angle, The Brave One uh, bravely, tries something different. While it has the expected scenes of its one-person army, in this case Jodie Foster, leading a crusade against New York’s worst, it’s also a character study of the emotional effects the killings have on her. The perspective of a woman and the dramatic mental problems that ensue provide a unique insight, but not an entertaining film.
Foster’s somber tone is central to the film as her quest to gain revenge grows. It’s in direct contrast to her slowly dwindling mental state, and her performance manages to sell both her calm and kill frenzy demeanor. Terrance Howard also handles himself well as the homicide detective trying to find the murderer wandering the streets, even though he associates with her the whole time.
The script places Foster in a number of situations that become increasingly unbelievable. It’s one thing to be in the wrong place at the wrong time once. When it happens a second time, and then a third time, it’s borderline B-movie scripting. No one is this unlucky, even in New York.
Between her assaults on gritty street crime, the plot meanders around without much of a purpose or pace. There are countless shots of Foster lying around in her apartment thinking about her actions that manage to be both pointless and uninteresting. The mind games between Howard and Foster once Howard learns of her double life are wonderful. However, this comes late and by the time this grabs the viewer, the credits are rolling.
The Brave One attempts to do something unique with a long-standing genre. For that, it deserves credit. Sadly, its innovation isn’t worth your time, and neither are the fine performances from all involved. File this under missed opportunity.
Warner handles the HD DVD release with care. The transfer is sharp and loaded with details. Black levels are rich, while colors carry plenty of pop. The print is clear without imperfections. The presentation is free of grain or noise. A few solid color backgrounds carry some slightly noticeable compression.
Almost entirely front loaded, the TrueHD mix doesn’t offer much to remember it by. The few gunshots in the film sit in the center channel and the subwoofer remains quiet. City shots are flat and lacking surround activity. That said, it does a fine job of picking up quiet dialogue and pushing it through clearly.
Two extras are included, neither carrying much weight. I Walk the City is a 22-minute making of feature that follows the by-the-numbers style of DVD features. A collection of deleted scenes last for seven minutes.
Many movies will ship their film reels to theaters under a fake name that has little to do with the actual movie. However, The Brave One carried the title Sweet Revenge which couldn’t be more appropriate.