Hollywood hues
Price for vengeance

The Brave One has enough twists and turns to keep the viewer going, says Ervell E. Menezes

Jodie Foster in a still from The Brave One
Jodie Foster in a still from The Brave One

May be Walking Tall in the late 1970s was one of the earliest vigilante movies but after that they began to come thick and fast, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. The Brave One is surely among the better ones, even if it isnít outstanding.

When radio jockey Erica (Jodie Foster) becomes a victim to a heinous crime in which she loses her lover David (Naveen Andrews) a few days before they were to tie the knot, she decides to take the law in her own hand. And though she continues her radio talk show during the day, her alter ego`A0walks the streets at night doling instant justice to fellow victims of crime.

Though the premise sounds somewhat simplistic, British director Neil Jordan imbues the film with a good deal of drama and angst and Jodie Foster, known from her histrionic roles like a rape victim in The Accused, finds the role almost made to order for her. Violence becomes a reason for living. It is also a subject`A0that raises a number of questions. Is there a difference between law and justice?`A0Does being a victim justify retaliation? Does vengeance have a price?

It may not answer all these questions. The Brave One prefers to focus on the consequences of vengeance. That she seems to elicit support from`A0a sympathetic detective Mercer (Terence Howard) contributes to an absorbing drama and a believable climax. The narrative too is strong as the film moves on more than one front and with good cameos by Mary Steenburgen (Cross Creek) and Nicky Katt.

But Jordan remains detached and almost clinical from the action as the heroine assumes the role of the avenger first and then the avenged. Despite a sort of conventional thrill-happy trajectory there are some compelling moments that lifts it to considerable heights. It also has enough of twists and turns to keep the viewer going most of the time.

Jodie Foster, who few will remember as the child actress in Tom Sawyer, plays Erica with consummate ease and her trademark style but also exercise some restraint. She is adequately supported by Terence Howard even though the character he plays is pretty thin. Naveen Andrews is more or less academic but the film is not. It certainly`A0is worth watching and for Jodie Foster fans it has been a long, long break.