Fast-Paised review: 'The Brave One'

Music IndustryCrimeEntertainmentCrime, Law and JusticeMoviesJodie FosterDonald Trump

After random thugs pummel her fiance to death and deliver a beating that temporarily puts her in a coma, radio host Erica (Jodie Foster) buys a gun and starts discreetly offing criminals because the cops don't seem to do anything about it. Understandably, officer Mercer (Terrence Howard) takes issue with the fact that an unidentified vigilante is doing his job for him.

Big question: After "Flightplan" and "Panic Room," can another movie about Foster under fire become an empowering story of everyday citizens fighting back?

Catch it: Suddenly wary of everything, Erica learns that the world is a tough place once cruelty has cracked it open and lets you look inside--like noticing a model of car only after you buy one yourself. Though "The Brave One" hinges on contrived plot devices and a chauvinistic view of women, both viewers and the characters onscreen must deal with the fact that we like when criminals get what's coming to them, regardless of who's pulling the trigger.

Skip it: If you like--or if you are--Donald Trump. You won't want to hear random people in "The Brave One" saying that they hope The Donald is next on the vigilante's list!

Bottom line: Foster's shell-shocked performance turns Erica into both an unstoppable action heroine and a real, traumatized person who's now aware that danger can come from anywhere. What the movie isn't exploring, though, is the empty sensation of knowing that revenge doesn't make us feel better at all.

Bonus: Just a heads-up if you ever need to give a description to a police sketch artist: As one witness learns, there's really no need to describe the suspect's rear end, no matter how much you like it!

Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.

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'The Brave One'

Directed by Neil Jordan; screenplay by Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor and Cynthia Mort; photographed by Philippe Rousselot; music by Dario Marianelli; edited by Tony Lawson; production design by Kristi Zea; produced by Joel Silver and Susan Downey. A Warner Bros. Pictures release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:59. MPAA rating: R (for strong violence, language and some sexuality).

Erica Bain - Jodie Foster

Sean Mercer - Terrence Howard

David - Naveen Andrews

Carol - Mary Steenburgen

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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