Last week I wrote an embarrassingly positive review of James Wan’s Death Sentence. One week later I’m in Canada for the Toronto Film Festival to review another vigilante film, but this time I’m not quite as excited. The Brave One is a more artfully done film, with a less convoluted story, and some otherwise great actors. So why did I like Death Sentence more? May-be because it knew what it was – a no apology genre movie. The Brave One has a much more serious tone, and leaves on some seriously irresponsible notes.
Jodie Foster plays a woman who struggles to recover from the death of her fiancÃ©e, who was the victim of a brutal mugging attack in Central Park. Foster, an NPR-type radio host, walks the streets of New York Cities, telling the stories of the disappearing city. One day she happens on a convenience store robbery, and decides to take the law into her own hands. In the period of a few weeks, Foster’s character happens to find a bunch of situations where her vigilante-style justice can emerge. My screenwriting friend always says that coincidence is always the tell tale sign of a bad screenplay. And this film has too many of these such incidents. The detective on the case, played by Terrence Howard, also unknowingly becomes friends with the female vigilante, adding further contrivance to an already stuffy storyline. And the film comes to a ridiculous, unrealistic, and irresponsible closure which prevents me from being able to recommend this film entirely.
The relationship between Foster and Naveen Andrews seems far from realistic. For a revenge flick to work, you must first believe in the injustice, and to believe in the injustice means you must first believe in the love, but love requires a chemistry which is not present in this film.
I wonder if I hadn’t seen Death Sentence last week if I would have been a lot more forgiving of this film. Would I have enjoyed it a lot more than I did? Probably.
/Film Rating: 6 out of 10