2007_09_arts_braveone.jpgThe Brave One
(directed by Neil Jordan)

As city dwellers and city lovers, we know living in New York can be scary. We just don't usually get reminders of how perilous our home is when we go for entertainment at the movie theater. Irish director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), with the help of one of our best and most revered American actors Jodie Foster, have constructed a randomly violent and morally ambiguous New York City where potential danger lurks around every corner in this compelling vigilante thriller.

Foster plays New York radio personality Erica Bains who reads This American Life type essays about city life on the air. She thrives in her beloved metropolis until she and her doctor fiancee David (Lost's Naveen Andrews) are attacked by thugs while walking their dog in Central Park. When Erica awakes from her coma she discovers that David is dead, and in the process of recovering from her grief, stumbles into vigilante acts against random baddies she encounters. Foster seems to have been made for this role. She is one of those rare performers who can embody on screen both a steely resolve and a tender fragility. She has also carried over some of the sexy confidence from her performance in the underrated The Inside Man to her character in The Brave One. Whether she's responding to the tender touch of her lover or flirting with Terrence Howard's detective who becomes involved emotionally in Erica's case, Foster is totally in touch with the power of her body. The Brave One has some controversial things to say about moral relativity, race, gender roles and cathartic violence but the fact that it stays ambiguous even to the final frames makes it all the more worth watching.

Other new movies coming out this weekend include the sci-fi action film Dragon Wars, David Cronenberg's newest about the Russian mob featuring Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen called Eastern Promises, a silly comedy starring two actors with three names Billy Bob Thorton and Sean William Scott Mr. Woodcock, Julie Taymor's musical using Beatles songs for the soundtrack Across the Universe, Daniel Radcliffe takes a break from fighting Voldemort in December Boys, an Iraq war movie written and directed by Oscar-winner Paul Haggis The Valley of Elah and an adaptation of the best selling novel with Keira Knightley and Michael Pitt Silk.