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Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The Brave One

When radio host Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) and her boyfriend take an evening stroll through New York’s Central Park only to end up mugged, bashed and - in the boyfriend’s case – killed, you could be forgiven for not knowing what’s next. When Erica is so scarred by the experience the only way she can feel safe is to buy a gun, things start to become a little clearer. And when she shoots a crazed gunman in a convenience store, there’s no doubt about it: you’re watching a good old-fashioned vigilante movie.

Director Neil Jordan ticks all the boxes in this gender-reversed Death Wish clone: crime rules the streets, rape-crazed gangs prowl the subways, and only one woman with a gun dares to put things right. The vigilante genre has lost some of its social relevance in these law-abiding times, but its taking-out-the-trash cliches still pack a punch and they’re well-handled here. Foster is the one who makes this straight-to-DVD material live, with a powerfully heartfelt performance that is often simply too good for the cheesy script she’s working with. And how does she get to be such a good shot?

Anthony Morris

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