The Brave One is a 2007 revenge flick starring Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, and Naveen Andrews.
10 out of 10 stars. This one will be memorable.
Erica Bain is a radio show host who features sounds from New York City. Her fiance, David Kirmani, is a doctor at the nearby hospital. They have a German shepherd named Curtis and live in an apartment building near the park. Every night they walk Curtis through the park and on one such night, right after they’ve ordered wedding invitations and attended a friend’s art exhibit, they are viciously attacked in the park by three Hispanic men. David is beaten to death with a metal pipe. Erica is almost beaten to death by being repeatedly slammed into a concrete wall head first. She is in a coma for three weeks, during which time David is buried. When she finally wakes up she has difficulty remembering the men who did this to her and her dog is gone.
When she is finally released from the hospital she is very much alone and scared. So she eventually buys a gun, a 9mm handgun, through an illegal street dealer. Only a day later she finds a use for that gun when she’s in a convenience store and the clerk is murdered by her violent husband. The husband comes after Erica and she shoots and kills him. That’s her first kill.
Detective Mercer is put in charge of the case and finds bullet casings from a 9 mm handgun with a partial print on one of the casings.
Meanwhile, Erica tries to go back to work but her boss is reluctant. On her first day back she freezes for an entire minute, but then changes her planned show and instead talks about fear. Later that night she’s on the subway when two black guys attack and rob a young man then an older black gentleman and his grandson. They bully them until they leave the train, but she remains. They approach her and one of the men scrapes his knife along her cheek and tells her he’s going to f*ck her with a knife. So she shoots and kills them both, her second and third kills. And here’s where she makes her fatal mistake. She hangs around the crime scene and Detective Mercer sees her. He recognizes her because he saw her in the hospital when she was in a coma and he used to watch her show. She asks him for an interview for her show and he refuses, but seeing her there immediately makes her a suspect.
A few days later Mercer goes to see Erica at her work and she interviews him. He’s touched by how brutally honest she is about what happened to her and the great feeling of loss she has over David. Mercer feels the same way about his ex-wife who not only left him, but who has become a completely different and unrecognizable person. This strikes a chord with Erica because she isn’t the person she used to be and has no way of getting back to who she was. Then eventually he tells her about the criminal who got away (and who happens to currently be on TV), Mortell, a man who imports drugs, people, guns, and whatever is paying the most. He just murdered his wife and got custody of his stepdaughter who was a witness. Mercer is concerned about that little girl.
Later that night as Erica is walking the streets she comes across a pimp in a car with a young girl he has drugged. He traps her inside his car and she pulls the gun on him until he lets her and the girl, whose name is Chloe, out. As she is walking away with Chloe, the pimp runs Chloe down so Erica shoots him, her fourth kill. The police come and take Chloe to the hospital but she won’t give a description of the vigilante killer who apparently saved her.
The following day, Erica’s boss makes her do a show on the vigilante killer and forces her to take call-ins. Afterward she tries to turn herself into the police but can’t. So she goes to Mortell’s office building and waits in the parking lot. Then she calls Mercer and tells him she can’t sleep. They talk for awhile then just as he hangs up he hears the parking lot elevator ding as Mortell gets on the elevator and she hangs up. She follows Martell to the rooftop where he’s parked his car and he attacks her with a crowbar. So she takes that crowbar and beats him over the head with it then she pushes him off the parking structure. He falls to his death, her fifth kill.
The cops re-interview the teenage boy and the grandpa and his grandson from the subway. The teenage boy remembers a chick on the subway but he can’t give a very good description as he was looking at her breasts and butt instead of her face. Since Detective Mercer is investigating the Mortell murder he goes up the parking structure elevator and recognizes the sound as the one he heard on the phone with Erica. So he has his friend run a trace on her phone and has proof that she was in Martell’s parking garage when he died.
The following day Mercer comes to Erica’s apartment with her ring, the one David gave her. It was his grandmother’s ring. The cops found it in Spanish Harlem in a pawn shop and they bring in one of the guys from that night for her to ID. She looks straight at him and says it’s not him. Because she has other plans for him. Sensing that she’s not telling the truth and that she might be the vigilante killer, Mercer invites her to lunch at a diner and they chat. Afterward she goes to every pawn shop in Spanish Harlem until she finds the one that recognizes her ring and she gets the name, address, and phone number of the girl who pawned it: Shauna Nelson. She goes to Shauna’s apartment building and see a bunch of girls hanging outside, so she calls Shauna’s phone then hangs up. Now she knows which one is Shauna and she follows her inside and approaches her. Shauna immediately recognizes her from the video on her boyfriend’s phone and knows what they did to her and David. She runs, but as Erica is walking home she gets a text message from Shauna with her boyfriend’s address and the video he took of the murder. Erica texts it to Mercer along with the address and then she heads there.
Mercer races across town to Spanish Harlem, trying to reach the murderer before Erica does. But he’s too late. She sees Shauna’s boyfriend, the guy from the line-up, with two other guys and her dog Curtis. She waits for the other guys to leave and kills him then she takes her dog. Curtis runs and she follows him. He leads her directly to the second guy who she kills next. Then he leads her to the third guy who hits Erica from behind and is about to beat her to death when Mercer arrives. By now Erica has a gun on the man and wants to kill him. Mercer talks her out of it and gets her gun. Then he hands her his gun and tells her if you want to kill someone make it legal. She kills the last of the murderers and gives Mercer back his gun. Then he gives her her 9mm handgun and tells her the story he’s going to use: these three got a taste for murder after they murdered David so they went on a killing spree and were the “vigilante killer” from the tabloids. He came to check on the guy from the lineup and was shot by murderer number three. There’s just one thing left to do–she has to shoot him to make it look believable. So she shoots him in the shoulder and leaves.
As Mercer is doctoring up the crime scene and waiting for his backup, he sees Curtis locked behind a gate and lets him go. Curtis runs all the way to the park and catches up with Erica in the very tunnel where David was murdered. And that’s the end.
10 out of 10 stars. Beautifully written and perfectly executed.
Now on Netflix.