The Brave One

Movies Reviews Jodie Foster
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The Brave One

Director: Neil Jordan
Writers: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor, Cynthia Mort
Cinematographer: Philippe Rousselot
Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Nicky Katt, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen
Studio/Running Time: Warner Bros, 119 min.

"Hey! Gotta gotta pay back! (The big payback.)
Revenge! I’m mad! (The big payback.)
Got to get back! Need some get back! Pay back! (The big payback.)
That’s it. Payback! Revenge! I’m mad!"

-James Brown “The Payback”

For some actors, the word “typecast” is extremely unflattering

. But in the case of Jodie Foster, whether she likes it or not, this is her reality. The mere mention of her name conjures up the same image: a woman who is stronger than she appears finds herself in a life-threatening situation and battles her way through overwhelming odds. Sound familiar? Think Flightplan, Panic Room, Contact, The Silence of the Lambs and now, The Brave One, where Foster plays a severely beaten survivor of a Central Park mugging in which her fiancé is killed. She soon finds justice through her own brand of vigilantism. Luckily, the familiarity of Foster’s character doesn’t detract from her performance, typecast or not. She knows her audience and can turn on the angst like a light switch.

Working as a soft-voiced, poetic radio personality before the attack, Foster’s character, Erica, now begins to evangelize about the city’s dark side. One listener, police detective Mercer (Terrence Howard) befriends Erica while he is also investigating the murders she has committed. Soon his suspicions lead to a strange sort of dance that plays out between them. Unfortunately, there’s a hollowness to their chemistry and it never seems to reach its full potential, unlike the riveting one she had with co-star Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.

But there are certainly enjoyable moments. The bad guys are just bad enough so that you’re not entirely unhappy when she offs them. And Mercer’s partner is affably played by Nicky Katt who dead pans some terrific one-liners. The ending is not what you would expect, and that’s a blessing. After all, one can only take so much familiarity.