The Brave One is a 2007 American psychological thriller film directed by Neil Jordan, produced by Joel Silver, and starring Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard. It is about Erica Bain (Foster), a female New York radio host and her boyfriend, who are severely beaten by thugs, leading to the boyfriend's death. Terrified for her safety, Bain buys a pistol. Armed with the gun, she undergoes a personality transformation and becomes a vigilante, shooting a number of criminals. Detective Sean Mercer (Howard) investigates the vigilante shootings, which lead him closer and closer to Bain. It was released in the United States on September 14, 2007. The film earned Foster a Golden Globe nomination for leading actress in a drama. The film, which garnered mixed reviews, had a global box office total of $69.7 M against a $70 M budget.
As radio show host Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) and her fiancÃ© David (Naveen Andrews) are walking their dog at night at Stranger's Gate in New York's Central Park, they are attacked by three violent criminals who film the whole attack on their phones. David dies from his injuries, and Erica, while seriously injured, survives. Angry and traumatized, she attempts to purchase a gun. Terrified and unwilling to wait the month required to obtain a gun legally, she buys a Kahr K9 semi-automatic pistol from a black market gun dealer.
When she stops at a convenience store, a man comes in screaming at the female cashier for not allowing him to see his kids, and shoots her. The killer then hears Erica's cell phone ringer, whilst attempting to clear out the till, and stalks her in the aisles. Just as the killer is about to find her, Erica is overcome with fear and shoots through the aisles and kills him. On another night, two street thugs harass and threaten passengers in a subway car. The passengers all leave at the next stop except Erica. When the thugs, amazed that she wasn't threatened enough to leave, take it as a challenge and threaten her with a knife, Erica shoots them both dead. Another night, she attempts to save a prostitute by threatening the brutal pimp with her pistol. When he attempts to run them down with his car in retaliation, she shoots him in the head, but not before he runs over the prostitute. The prostitute is injured, but lives, and is taken to the hospital. All the while, Erica attempts to track down the thugs who killed David.
She strikes up a friendship with Detective Sean Mercer (Terrence Howard) who is investigating the vigilante crimes and who is initially unaware of her role in the deaths. Erica, in trying to find out if the detective is close to solving her case as well as the vigilante killings, pretends to want to interview Mercer. During the interview the detective asks her how she pulled it back together after her tragedy. She replies that she didn't, she had to become a different person to the one she was before. They talk several times after. Erica's boss gets her to take calls on her radio show to solicit the public's opinion on the vigilante killings. The various responses almost get her to confess to the killings, but once at the police station she's unable to bring herself to do so. Mercer tells Erica about a criminal he has been pursuing for a long time who has allegedly committed several murders, but Mercer is unable to bring him to justice.
When Erica kills the suspect that Detective Mercer had long been after, Mercer comes to suspect her as the killer. He attempts to set a trap for Erica by taking her along with him to interview the prostitute she had saved before, but the prostitute does not let on that she knows Erica. When Mercer is finally able to interview one of the subway car passengers he gets a description of the probable vigilante, and learns that it is a female rather than male as previously suspected. When the police bring in Erica to identify one of the suspects in her attack, she recognizes one of them but does not identify him. After, Mercer meets Erica for coffee during which he hints that he suspects her as the probable vigilante.
Informed by the police that they found her engagement ring at a pawn shop, she manages to hunt down a phone number at the pawn shop. With the phone number she is able to track down one of the attacker's ex-girlfriends, who witnessed the whole attack but is too frightened to rat on them, fearing a similar reprisal. However, she forwards the video recording of Erica's attack to Erica's phone. Erica almost breaks down on seeing the video, then forwards it to detective Mercer. Erica, now armed with positive visual identification of all three attackers, is able to track them down.
At the climax of the film, Erica finds and confronts the thugs responsible for David's murder. She kills two, finding and releasing her dog in the process (which they had stolen and kept after the attack) and struggles with the third. Mercer arrives on the scene just as the third attacker had taken the upper hand and disarmed Erica, holding her in a chokehold, and attempts to arrest him. Erica then retrieves her weapon and attempts to execute the thug. Mercer persuades Erica to lower the gun, but after looking into her begging eyes, hands her his own in order for her to use a legal weapon to kill the last thug. The thug begs to be arrested instead, insisting that it's Mercer's job to do so. But then Erica kills the thug, then Mercer insists that Erica should wound him (Mercer) to help frame a story which blames the thugs as the vigilante killers. Mercer places Erica's gun in the last thug's dead hand and Erica leaves the scene, eventually being rejoined by her dog in Central Park.
- Jodie Foster as Erica Bain
- Terrence Howard as Detective Sean Mercer
- Naveen Andrews as David Kirmani
- Nicky Katt as Detective Vitale
- ZoÃ« Kravitz as Chloe
- Mary Steenburgen as Carol
- Luis Da Silva as Lee
- Jane Adams as Nicole
- John Magaro as Ethan
- Dana Eskelson as police sketch artist
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 43% based on 183 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 56%, based on 33 reviews. Yahoo! movie ratings give it a "B-" from critics (14 reviews).
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 31â2 stars (out of 4); saying Foster and Howard "are perfectly modulated in the kinds of scenes difficult for actors to play, where they both know more than they're saying, and they both know it."
In its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, the film was #1 at the box office, grossing $13,471,488 in 2,755 theaters. As of December 29, 2007, the film has grossed $69,787,663 worldwideâ"$36,793,804 in the United States and Canada and $32,993,859 in other territories.
Awards and nominations
The film received one Golden Globe nomination when the nominees for the 65th Golden Globe Awards were announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Foster was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama.
- Bernhard Goetz
- Death Wish
- Eye for an Eye
- Official website
- The Brave One at the Internet Movie Database
- The Brave One at AllMovie
- The Brave One at Box Office Mojo
- The Brave One at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Brave One at Metacritic
- The Brave One "Restricted" Trailer - Film trailer at IGN.com
- DVD Talk on The Brave One