Classic Intel: The Brave One - TV Review

'plays out like Unbreakable crossed with Training Day'

Neil Jordan's 2007 thriller about a marauding vigilante (Jodie Foster) who starts to act having been beaten nearly to death by a gang of muggers, plays out like Unbreakable crossed with Training Day, Foster's near untouchable radio presenter encountering several people on her quest across New York, all of whom seem 'really bad'.

The director's style, juxtaposing sections of violence with Foster's poetry-laced radio program, lends The Brave One a strange, ethereal, air which will irritate as much as it charms. Obviously shooting for something outside of the standard thriller box, Jordan hits and misses, creating a film that is at once completely different to many other genre offerings but also eminently forgettable stuff.

Foster's Erica Bain shares a bit too much in common with the also out-of-her-depth Clarice Starling to be a memorable character and Foster successfully sleepwalks through the role, balancing the steely determination required with the subtler moments that hint at her character eventually being redeemed. Terence Howard is as fine as ever as the detective who starts to add things up whilst his partner (Nicky Katt) is a consistent scene-stealer, benefiting from the best bits of Roderick Taylor, Bruce Taylor and Cynthia Mort's script; 'I'd say it was probably the fall that killed this guy' he tells Howard at one point, 'or it could be the crowbar embedded in his skull. I'd say it's about 50-50. Or perhaps 70-30'.

The usual questions prevalent in vigilante material - about right and wrong, justice and injustice - show up at the appropriate moments and there's a feeling that Jordan perhaps thought he was making the definitive entry in the sub-genre. It's a good try but it's not quite all there and The Brave One's reliance on the play-by-play form book undermines its more lofty attempts at turning the bog standard thriller into more arthouse friendly material. Decent and occasionally uncompromising but not, however, uncompromised.

The Brave One was showing on Channel 4 in the UK.

Look further...

'[Foster's] fierce frightened performance provides plenty of grip but the play-out here is predictable and so is the ending' - Film Babble Blog


  1. I liked this one. Thought there were some good performances and it was a little more subtle than the rubbish but similar male version Death Sentence.

  2. Not seen DEATH SENTENCE. Whenever I think of vigilante/vengeance films I always think of MAN ON FIRE as one of my favourite sub-genre examples although its setting makes it a little different to this.