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Home arrow Movies arrow The Brave One

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The Brave One Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Thursday, 20 September 2007
The Brave One
Out of ignorance I was reluctant to see this movie. It looked like another "angry woman who takes things into her own hands" type movie and that didn't seem too exciting to me. I am happy to admit that I was wrong. Instead this is a gritty exploration of the feelings of someone who has come face to face with violent crime. This sort of movie is not my normal fare. There is a significant amount of brutal violence and language and I usually avoid that in a show. In this case I think it was necessary and worth it to tell the story.
Erica Bain, played by Jodie Foster, and her fiance, David Kirmani, are senselessly and brutally attacked during an evening walk in a park in New York City. David never recovers and dies while Erica spends several days unconscious in a hospital bed. When she recovers she is devastated by her loss but she tries to live her life. The trauma of the event leaves her paralyzed by fear. At first she is not even able to leave her apartment.
As time goes one she develops the courage to get out of her home but she is still haunted by an overwhelming fear. Driven half-crazy by the oppression she decides to buy a gun to help herself feel more secure. Only while carrying the handgun does she feel free enough to live.
Shortly after that she finds herself in a convenience store with a guy who starts shooting people. Scared to death, she uses her gun and shoots the guy. Other circumstance follow and she ends up using the gun in other instances. Eventually she finds and faces her boyfriend's killers and kills them.
But this is not a story about revenge as I thought it was at first. Instead, it's a story about how fear can grip a person so strongly, even a person who felt they were above fear, that it drives them to do things they know are wrong. The story is the transition that Erica Bain goes through. The series of shootings are landmarks in this journey she makes.
The first shooting is one of primal fear and self-defense. She is cornered and feels like there is no alternative. She has no control of her fear. The second shooting occurs in a subway. A couple of punks threaten her and she responds in fear. Yet here we she that she also understand the power she has. She comments later that she could have just shown the gun and then walked away. But she didn't. She still shot the boys. The transition being shown is from pure fear to one of choice and power.
The next incident shows more progression. She finds herself in a dangerous situation. Using her gun to bluff she is able to get out of the situation and starts to walk away. Unfortunately the assailant refuses to leave her alone and threatens her life. She kills him. But she showed the transformation to one who was trying to overcome her fear without needing to use force.
The next situation was a test. She confronts a corrupt official, someone who has been oppressing and hurting people for years, and takes revenge on him by killing him. This is where she took it too far. She realized that her fear had grown into a power that would enable her to do "bad things for the sake of good". But she realized this wasn't right. If it wasn't for a surprise event this would have been the end of her violence.
Just after that she is given information that tells her where the people who killed her boyfriend are. She also realizes that she has become like the criminals who have hurt her. She wants to end her own life but before doing that she wants to avenge her boyfriend. The story ends predictably.
This is a movie for thought. It makes you realize how fear can grip and control a person. It makes you wonder if fear, to a lesser degree, is controlling you now and forcing you to do things you think are wrong. They say good movies make you think. So if that's the criteria that matters then this is a good movie.

Copyright 2004 - 2008 Mike Noel. All rights reserved.
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