The Brave One (R)

Action/Adventure 122 September 14, 2007
By Scott Foundas
In the new Neil Jordan movie, Jodie Foster stars as a New York talk-radio DJ who survives a vicious Central Park mugging and becomes an urban crusader devoted to cleaning up the city — with a Glock instead of a broom. Taken literally, almost everything that follows in The Brave One so seriously strains credibility as to enter the realm of the absurd. Taken on the level of a menacing urban fairy tale, however, it’s strangely fascinating stuff. Jordan plays up the connections between vigilante and superhero movies, giving us a New York in which Foster's Erica Bain can scarcely set foot outside without stumbling upon some violation of an innocent about to take place or already in progress. And when she does, her swift vengeance is quietly startling. The result is a movie that hangs in a kind of suspended animation between the grindhouse and the art house, as Erica’s brutally efficient assassinations and Dirty Harry-style one-liners trade off with ruminations on the nature of cities, America’s inherent violent tendencies, and received notions of morality. Any way you slice it, this ballsy and sometimes bonkers movie is more ambitious and alive than anything that has tumbled off the Hollywood assembly line in a good long while.
Neil Jordan Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen Bruce Taylor, Roderick Taylor, Cynthia Mort, Neil Jordan Joel Silver, Susan Downey Warner Bros. Pictures