The Brave One
starring Jodie Foster

Question one:  Why remake Charles Bronson’s Death Wish – with a woman protagonist no less?  To begin with, 1974 was very different than 2007.  Mugging is not the norm anymore.  The zeitgeist is different.  Furthermore, no one in their right mind goes for a little stroll in Central Park after dark anymore.  You leave it to the shadow people and come back after dawn.  Perhaps an out-of-towner might make such a mistake, but died-in-the-wool New Yorkers?  No, they wouldn’t.

Also, Charles Bronson is a man.  Harder to believe a woman in this role.  Bronson, once he had established his mission, was a cool customer.  He went about his business of killing miscreants professionally.  It was his job.

Erica Bain is tortured when she does it, yet she does it.  She agonizes over the killings where Bronson was almost matter of fact.  It worked with him.  It does NOT with her.

Erica, a white professional, is engaged to David Kirmani, a black man–OK, an Indian, but not the point.  He is a man of color.  Somehow, a la Sidney Poitier in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, his being a doctor validates the breach of the color barrier.  While Erica never becomes romantically involved with Detective Sean Mercer, there is chemistry between them.  But he is a home grown American black man.  All of a sudden Erica’s attraction to men of color jumps classes from doctor to cop.  Her best line is something like “You become a different person.  There is no going back.”  So now she has somehow lurched across the class barrier as well. 

The twist at the end is a good one, but even that echoes Death Wish.  In both cases we need the vigilante to get away with the killing for us to feel good.  OK, but this film is not creative, not believable, and doesn’t even satisfy the lust for vengeance.  

First at the box office knocking off another never-should-have-been-made movie, 3:10 to Yuma, which we reviewed last week. 

Save your movie bucks on both of these flics and wait for them to hit the video stores.  They won’t be worth the price of rental, but if you jam the room full of others who have nothing else to do and it amortizes to less than a buck a head, what the hell…

Afterthought:  The movie companies traditionally release these piss ant movies at the end of the summer during the post season lull in attendance.  They gear back up after society has settled into its school/work post-summer routine.  Somewhere in here after the summer and before the holiday fare, some courageous studio may float a good film if they have one in the can.  This is what we live for.  This is why we go to the movies.  We hope for the surprise film that actually makes us think and feel things and remember that the highest calling of a movie is to transport us vicariously into a dimension that makes us realize that there is more to us than our routine lives.  Some extra nobility.  A place that encourages us to stretch to become better humans.

That is why we continue to go.  For The Silence of the Lambs, The Shawshank Redemption, even Pretty Woman.  Tales which uplift us rather than just dull us down.