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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

‘Brave One’ offers sub-par revenge

Let’s face it; there are few things as satisfying as seeing someone who has been wronged getting a chance at vengeance. From as far back as Greek mythology to as recent as “Kill Bill,” stories of revenge seem to strike a chord within us. However, these stories often tend to not look at the consequences revenge can have. Who decides what is fair and just? When is it right to take the law into your own hands? These are some of the questions raised in Neil Jordon’s (“Interview with the Vampire”) latest film, “The Brave One.” Although these may be tough to answer, “The Brave One” spends little time pondering the issue. Instead, it focuses all of its efforts on showing just one side of the argument, lowering the potential for what could have been an amazing film.

The movie follows Erica Bain (Jodie Foster), a radio host in New York engaged to David Kirmani (Naveen Andrews). During a walk through Central Park, a group of men rob and assault them. Bain is beaten unconscious, falling into a coma for three weeks. Upon awakening, she learns that Kirmani was killed during the attack. Heartbroken, she tries to move on with her life. But between the loss of Kirmani and the lack of help from the police she finds it difficult to move forward. Frustrated, she purchases a gun and decides to take matters into her own hands. What ensues is a series of events that lead her down a path of revenge and vigilante justice. During her journey she befriends Detective Mercer (Terrance Howard), who just happens to be working the case of a mysterious vigilante killer.

While the above description might convey a strong sense of moral struggle and emotional conflict, the film rarely debates the ethics of revenge. Early on it is apparent that Jordan’s mind is made up and he does very little to show both sides of the issue. This type of bias holds a movie such as this one back. Films are often used as allegories for current social issues and although Jordan’s efforts are commendable, the execution is a mess. And that’s disheartening, considering that Jordan had the chance to deliver an exceptional film. “The Brave One” ends up feeling like just another revenge flick, albeit a slightly smarter one.

Unfortunately, this one-sided issue takes center stage and other areas of the film suffer because of it. The acting is great but the time wasn’t taken to develop the character’s onscreen chemistry, turning what could have potentially been award winning performances, especially for Foster, into just another role. And that’s really a shame because Foster and Howard are both very talented.

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Like most revenge films, violence takes up a large chunk of the movie. However, in this instance, less definitely would have been more. After watching seven plus people murdered, the violence begins to lose its impact and meaning. Most of these scenes feel like they were thrown in just for the sake of having more violence, not to advance the story.

In fact, there was quite a bit more than just violence that could have been cut out. “The Brave One” is nearly two hours long but it feels much longer thanks to scenes that do nothing but bring the movie to a screeching halt. At one point during the film, a man in the back row of the theater fell asleep and started snoring for around 20 minutes. Although his obvious boredom may have provided some spontaneous laughs for the rest of the audience, the sad thing was that he didn’t miss anything at all. Basically, if you’ve seen the trailer for “The Brave One,” you’ve seen the movie.

Yet I can’t help but applaud what was an attempt to intelligently look at such a complicated issue. Maybe that’s why I felt so let down. The potential for a smart, amazing film was there. But somewhere along the line the intentions and focus became misguided, resulting in another below-average revenge film. But at least they tried.

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