Title: The Brave One
Director: Neil Jordan
Screenwriter: Roderick Taylor and Bruce A. Taylor
Cast: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Nicky Katt, Naveen Andrews and Mary Steenburgen
Reviewer: Xolani Shezi
I've never seen Jodie Foster (Erica Bain) laugh and smile as convincingly as she does in The Brave One.
I'm adamant that director (Neil Jordan) hired the services of a show-us-some-teeth consultant to compel her to beam so genuinely as she acts truly in love on screen with Indian boyfriend David Kirmani (Naveen Andrews).
You ought to know that romance and laughter are constantly missing ingredients in most of Foster's performances.
But, it seems she was not meant to be a happy screen portrayer, for, after the brutal murder of Kirmani her authentic bliss ends abruptly for good, even when she meets Detective Mercer (Terrence Howard), with whom she's clearly smitten.
Maybe the problem lies with her God-given serious demeanour. In Hollywood circles she's reputed to be "intensely focused and private", donning sunglasses during her Pilates physical exercise technique classes to avoid being noticed.
But The Brave One does have certain glimpses of the Silence of the Lambs' dark, thriller imagery that has become Foster's trademark characterisation.
The Brave One is based on events surrounding the violence in New York, where citizens butchered one another as crime hit alarming highs about 30 years ago.
Bain and Kirmani are walking their dog in Central Park when the canine disappears, only for them to find it kidnapped by three thugs. The thugs steal their possessions, including the dog and her ring, a gift from her lover, and bash the lovebirds so badly that Kirmani dies.
Bain is admitted to hospital where she wakes up from a coma in the ICU.
Jordan surprises me here - he juxtaposes the imagery of the couple's brutal beating with that of them making love. And what an unusual, interesting contrast it is.
But one visible fault Jordan implants in the movie is when Bain, a radio show host, finally awakens all bruised up; it takes a few days for her wounds to heal completely and suddenly she's at home and walking unaided.
When the police fail to capture her lover's murderers, ace detective Mercer included, Bain's anger drives her to buy an illegal gun and turn into a lone vigilante.
Her first kill is inside a grocery store when a man shoots his wife amid divorce frustrations - Bain defends the helpless.
But her shooting is too perfect for a crime victim with no proper training on how to fire a gun.
Bain won't rest until she avenges her darling's death. Mercer, who has fallen for her, makes it possible and risks his career.
Barring a few glitches, The Brave One is a lion-hearted, grim project where a woman takes centre stage and punishes the abusive male species with a bullet.
Foster and Mercer put on a display worthy of an Oscar nomination in this one. Age restriction is 16 due to nudity.