The Brave One Neil Jordan

The Brave One Neil Jordan
Some time ago, I announced that License to Wed would rank as the worst movies of the year. There is a reason for this: I hadn’t seen The Brave One yet. For despite the presence of the normally level-headed Jodie Foster and the spotty but often brilliant Neil Jordan, this has turned out to be a terribly written, limply directed, screamingly reactionary and monstrously exploitative descent into hell.

Foster plays an eccentric radio host who’s about to be married, only to have her fiancé killed and her sense of security destroyed by a trio of marauding thugs. Anyone who’s seen Bronson in Death Wish knows what she decides to do next but they might not expect the faux-sympathetic record of her anguish, the imbecilic subplot involving a sensitive cop (Terence Howard) and the ridiculous social studies "complexity” that decries the sensationalism in which it indulges.

The dialogue and situations are so ludicrous that one often feels like laughing, but the laughter gets shoved back down the throat by the insane earnestness and shocking arrogance with which this film pursues its agenda. It’s not just that the film is a rightwing anti-scumbag screed, though there’s certainly that, and it set my teeth on edge. But even people who support such a program will be appalled at the facile smugness with which it deals with its issues, ultimately trivialising people’s pain for the sake of a stupid movie.

If it had just been a sordid thriller, it might have been enjoyable, but the half-hearted attempts at relevance turn an already questionable premise into a nightmarish freak-out from which nobody, least of all the filmmakers, gets away clean. (Warner)