The Brave One

CRIME DRAMA; 2hr 2min

STARRING: Jodi Foster, Terrence Howard

Brave heart: Howard and Foster

New York City radio broadcaster Erica Bain (Foster) and her surgeon fiancé, David Kirmani (Naveen Andrews), are walking their dog in Central Park one night when they are viciously attacked by thugs. David dies from his wounds, leaving a traumatised and bereft Erica to endure without him. She buys a gun for protection — and she soon begins to use it. Now Erica is a killer vigilante. Prey turned predator, her terror has mutated into rage.


There are distinct echoes of 1974’s Death Wish here, plus in an off-the-wall twist Erica forms a close alliance with the empathetic detective on the vigilante case (Howard). Cred stretcher? You bet, but director Neil Jordan moves assuredly through the rocky thematic terrain while Foster’s keen intelligence — no fish lips and facial toxins for her! — make Erica intensely alive, lifting a dime-store premise into a potent ethical drama of torment and vengeance. It’s a great, fiercely illuminated performance from an actress consistently in charge of the moment, no matter how implausible and morally dodgy that moment may be.