The Reel Deal: The Brave One sparks moral debate

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"Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality"

Any movie that can work that poem from Emily Dickinson and use it in a context that actually pertains to the movie, you just know it has to be good.

Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan’s "The Crying Game" latest foray onto the big screen is a powerful and questioning movie.

"The Brave One" put you into the shoes of radio host, turned vigilante-heroine, Erica Bane, played by the always-magnificent Jodie Foster.

When the movie first starts, we see Erica walking along the streets, picking up the sounds of New York for her radio segment "Street Talk."

Those sounds that she loves becomes menacing after she and her fiancé David (Naveen Andrews) are brutally beaten in a tunnel while taking their dog out for a walk. In the aftermath, she wakes up from a coma three weeks later, only to find out that David did not survive the mugging.

Not only was she physically traumatized by the attack, she was mentally shaken up because her sense of security went away with the first punch thrown.

To cope with her feelings, she illegally purchases a gun, and forgets that going with strangers to an unfamiliar place probably is not a good idea. Nothing bad happens to her there, you just think she might be more suspicious and aware of her surroundings after what took place a few months early.

After she purchases the gun that is when the movie really starts to pick up. She goes into a convenience store late at night and comes upon an irate husband, whose wife is working the register at said store. When he finds he isn’t the only one in the store after shooting his wife, he seeks her out. Now, empowered with a weapon, she can finally fight back against what happened to her.

It seems she accidentally, then deliberately becomes a vigilante after that encounter.

The movie raises questions of that premise. Is she seeking violent people out to kill them, or is she no longer afraid of death? Does she have remorse for what she is doing, or is she glad because they are no longer threats to society?

The movie also questions how far someone would go to reclaim his or her sense of security; To not live in fear after something traumatic happens. Would they become a shell of themselves, or morph into someone entirely different?

In the movie, after Erica shoots and kills two other men in a subway, she notices that her hands are not shaking. She wonders, "Why won’t somebody stop me?"

I think "The Brave One" presses us to think that while we cannot stop other people, it is just up to the individuals to try to stop themselves.

This movie is profound, with wonderful performances by both Foster and the delectable Terrence Howard, who plays Detective Sean Mercer, the one seeking the intriguing vigilante.

I gave this film an A-

Dedra Cordle is a staff writer for the Messenger Newspapers.

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