Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Brave One


I don’t understand the title. I guess it’s brave to come out of your apartment after a brutal mugging that leaves you near death and your fiancée dead, when you’re having panic attacks the moment you reach for the doorknob … but having a gun helps a lot. There’s really nothing brave about putting a gun in the face of a worthless piece of shit and pulling the trigger. Satisfying, sure, but not brave.
Most of us think about revenge. (I’d say all, but there are people who really believe in turning the other cheek. I’m not one of them.) You’d like to think it would be satisfying, and it certainly can be, but probably not if it involves killing someone, no matter how richly they deserve it. Unless you’re a certain kind of person who is not bothered by killing, and I have to think they’re fairly rare. I don’t believe they are all psychopaths, but many of them are, or at least they’re people who are incapable of feeling empathy. Charles Bronson, in Death Wish, seemed to suffer no qualms at all about cleaning up New York City, and Bernard Goetz was apparently bothered only by the lifelong hassle he incurred by plugging those assholes on the subway. Death Wish was probably a dishonest movie … but damn, it was a lot of fun. I remember getting a visceral delight in seeing these monsters blown away. Naturally, to get that delight, the screenwriters have to make the monsters into the absolute worst, most despicable, sub-human creatures who ever lived, the sort of people most of us would no more miss than metal rabbits in a shooting gallery. In this movie Jodie Foster tries for more honesty, showing the price a formerly peaceful vigilante pays for her clean-up campaign. But of course her final targets are the very murderers who killed her fiancée … and stole her dog, too! And that seems unlikely. Even more unlikely is the ending, as Terence Howard (who is a man to watch; he’s very, very good) does something … well, that’s a spoiler.
And damn it, bottom line, it would be a lot more fun if she enjoyed it more. Yeah, I know, she probably wouldn’t … but she has one great Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry line. She’s just hit this scumbag with a crowbar, undoing thousands of dollars of dental work, and the guy sputters through his blood: “Are you a cop?” And she snorts, and says, “You wish.” Meaning, a cop couldn’t do what I’m about to do to you. Loved it.