Movie Review: The Brave One

It has been a good while since I have watched a movie in the cinema, so yesterday I decided, after a hearty meal at Japengo’s, that I go and select a random movie to watch. It wasn’t an entirely random selection though – despite the fact I had no idea what was currently showing, as soon as I saw a Jodie Foster movie I said to myself “this is it”. I even passed on a Ms. Jolie movie – rendering me forever shameless amongst fellow Jolie fetishists.

The movie has a basic and typical action movie plot: Erica (Jodie Foster) and hubby get brutally attacked by a group of thugs in a tunnel, leaving her and her hubs for dead. Supposedly. She survives but learns after her coma is over that her hubby didn’t make it, and she sets out on an emotional and quite disturbing route for revenge. But rest assured this isn’t an action movie nor is it a sappy-I-am-afraid-please-cuddle-me type of story.

The Brave One

What is different about this movie and sets it apart from other Woo Clones is that the storytelling delves deep inside Erica’s thoughts as she gets more traumatized every day. The focus of the movie, as I felt it, is on the transformation of the human psyche after a traumatic event. The story doesn’t go overboard with a complete transformation from a peaceful Erica to a murderous psychopath, but rather it shows how Erica’s life has changed, her perceptions, views, values and impulses differ as well as her confusing and contradicting thoughts in each scene. So in that respect you can consider the movie as a psychological thriller more than anything else.

What brings this otherwise B-rated movie to life, other than the story, is Jodie Foster’s superb acting and the well-written and thoughtful monologues. The dialogues in the movie are nothing extraordinary, and in a couple of scenes it gets a bit cheesy and too typical (so don’t go in thinking the dialogues are Closer-like). It is the monologues that truly are the meat of this movie, and although they’re not as numerous as they ought to be for a movie that focuses on thoughts rather than action, they’re spaced out well and are put in key moments. They gripped me long enough to keep recalling a few monologues a few hours after the movie has ended and it gave me a new insight on some issues I would have otherwise taken for granted.

Jodie’s acting is really good but it still doesn’t top her performance in Silence of the Lambs, which I strongly believe is the highlight of her career. In spite of that though, her acting and monologues is what makes this movie, which is a pretty sharp double-edges sword. On one hand, if you do get sucked in, you will enjoy the movie – otherwise you’d be yawning yourself unconscious and only be awakened when there are gun shots (the guns are unusually loud).

The Brave One

The music hits the good notes with its piano melodies; given I am a piano fetishist as well the movie got some good solid positive points there. The camera-work and composition in a good number of scenes is stellar and brings out the mood well – especially the ones where the depth of field is not more than two feet. The rest of the scenes look pretty standard and nothing to talk home about.

At the end of the day, what will make you like this movie are Jodie’s acting and the thrilling monologues, and nothing else. This makes The Brave One quite a brave movie in its own right as it is a hit or miss, and, to me at least, it was a hit. Could use some improvement? Definitely. The idea of the monologues and their actual contents could have been fleshed out more along with other aspects, but given the time limit imposed on movies as well as Hollywood expectations the movie did quite decent.

It makes a good book, though.