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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


(aka 'Sweet Revenge')

Directed by Neil Jordan
USA 2007

 

It's hard not to cringe at the opening of Neil Jordan's moody, upscale revenge drama The Brave One; any drama that starts off this ecstatically happy is clearly just establishing a high-water mark so the inevitable plummet into misery will be even more striking. Jodie Foster begins the film as a successful radio host on the verge of marrying Lost veteran Naveen Andrews; their giggly, giddy relationship is so idealized that the weight of inevitable doom hangs over it even before a random act of violence ends it. After three weeks in a coma, Foster is left to contemplate a newly purchased gun and a shaky sense of resolve that leads her out into the streets, where she tries to become a predator hunting other predators.

It's all been done before, all too often via sleazy rape-revenge films. But director Neil Jordan and his screenwriters (father-and-son team Bruce and Roderick Taylor, plus Cynthia Mort) give the revenge theme a taut, burning internality, as Foster gradually refines her intentions and capabilities, and her emotions start leaking into her sleepy, Garrison Keillor-esque radio show. The smartest touch is her dynamic with detective Terrence Howard, who seems to be trying to reel her back in to sanity. Throughout the film, it's rarely clear exactly how much he knows about her nocturnal activities, and as she cautiously plays him for information, their relationship becomes murky and complicated. And the terrific performances help keep everyone guessing.

Excerpt from The Onion AV located HERE

Posters/Promo

Theatrical Release: September 6th, 2007 - Toronto Film Festival

Reviews                                                                     More Reviews                                                         DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

  

   

   

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Warner Brothers
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:02:08  2:02:18.164
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.76 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Disc Size: 24,042,676,412 bytes

Feature Size: 21,116,338,176 bytes

Total Bitrate: 17.02 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray VC-1

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs in French and Spanish Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1414 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1414 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB)
Subtitles English, English (CC), French, Spanish, None English, English (CC), French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette: I Walk the City
• Additional Scenes

DVD Release Date: February 5th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 31

Release Information:
Studio:
Warner Archive

 

Disc Size: 24,042,676,412 bytes

Feature Size: 21,116,338,176 bytes

Total Bitrate: 17.02 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray VC-1

 

Edition Details:
• Featurette: I Walk the City (21:41)
• Additional Scenes (6:45)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 18th, 2007
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 31

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray February 15': Thought I would revisit this film and compare the DVD to the Blu-ray (as previously we only had separate reviews of both). I continue to warm to The Brave One in multiple revisitations. Neil Jordan (Mona Lisa, Interview with the Vampire, The Butcher Boy) is a director that is worthy of analyzing. He is an interesting craftsman. The Warner Blu-ray was one of their early ones; VC-1, single-layered - modest bitrate, no lossless audio. It does look reasonably improved, visually, over the SD transfer - notable in the contrast and detail. It's enough to warrant the upgrade if you will re-watch the film, considering the, very low, reasonable price. It's a title that I doubt will get a superior BD treatment (unlike Deliverance) from its modest Warner-BD roots. Extras and audio are duplicated. An imperfect film but it holds a kind-of 'Walter Hill value', IMO.

Gary W. Tooze

***

Leonard's comments on the Blu-ray (from is 2008 review):

The Brave One ~ Comment
"Brave" is not the word that leaps to my mind as I consider Jodie Foster's character in Neil Jordan's latest movie. No, I don't think so. Beethoven was brave. Chris Reeve was brave. But Erica Bain is lost and desperate. To my thinking bravery does not proceed from desperation and hopelessness, but only when you feel there are choices. The protagonist here feels she has none. She is driven – at first to hole up in her apartment (very understandable); later, to buy a gun; later still, to kill. When she first attempts to buy a gun she is told she will have to wait 30 days after she gets her license. She replies, "I can't wait 30 days." She feels she can do only the one thing: That’s' not choice. That's obsession.
 
What motivates the protagonist seems to me be at the heart of what is confused about this film. It is unquestionably courageous for her to go on with any kind of life after the assault, but Erica is so damaged that she refuses offers of support from friends or family. She doesn't consider therapy. She doesn't relocate, nor travel nor take any form of vacation. Instead, she returns to the apartment she shared with her fiancÚ – and, in her way, dies there.

From the featurette, it is clear that title refers to Erica's willingness to go on with her life, yet I feel that the film I saw isn't the film intended. Unlike Beethoven and Reeve, Erica gives in to her inner demons, and manifests their fear and their outrage. As she herself says, it is no longer her life she is living, but someone else's. This is not courage; it's despair.

Interesting about the screenplay is what is not examined as much as what is. For instance, at no time does our protagonist question her boyfriend's role in the assault. While very much the victim here, he did not walk away when he first had the chance. She doesn't really examine her feelings about surviving the assault, though she makes an attempt at a kind of catharsis on her radio program – an attempt undermined by her producer. So much for sisterhood! All of these might have suited a very different film, for the interest here is only how it is possible – perhaps in some circumstance, inevitable – to become completely so taken over by fear that one sees real and potential assaults everywhere and eventually finds it necessary to take action against them. To put it another way, untreated PTSD is a bummer.
 

The Brave One ~ The Score Card
 
The Movie : 6
Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) hosts a radio program about life on the streets of New York, the New York she has lived in and loves. When she and her fiancÚ are brutally assaulted by a gang of creeps, her body eventually recovers, but her soul is transformed, not so much for the better. A sympathetic homicide detective (Terence Howard) is on the trail of a string of "vigilante" killings that seem to inevitably lead to her.
 
Image : 8.5 (8~8.5/9)
The score of 8.5 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a 10-point scale. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.
 
Sharpness of image is not this movie's strong suit, which is, rather, an exercise in subtle tones of dark and shadow. In this respect the Blu-ray is very effective, yielding just enough hints in those secret recesses to convey both fear and excitement. The blue-green tinge that Gary noted in his review of the SD is not a problem here.

Audio & Music : 8/7
Nothing to complain nor write home about. Foster's tendency to whisper her lines comes through with the dramatic impact intended.
 
Operations : 7
Typical of Warner, we get right to the movie before we've had time to return to our seats. The menu, though in no way taking advantage of the medium, is straightforward. As is typical with Warner Blu-rays, the slightly expanding thumbnails are not titled. Lots of chapters for a film this short.
 
Extras : 6
With input from director, writer and actors, I Walk the City is a twenty-minute look at how this project developed from a typical vigilante noir to – well, whatever it is. This and the few "additional scenes" are all that is ported over from the SD. There are no HD exclusive features.

Recommendation: 6
The question of how a vicious and near fatal attack changes a person profoundly and forever is what is considered in this film. I found the movie was most successful in the relatively subtle threads that followed Foster and Howard in their various meetings and conversations about murder and police work, and caricatured when it came to media and public reaction. Fans of the actress will not be disappointed even if her Clarice whisper sometimes finds its way back through the slime.
 
Leonard Norwitz
LensViews
February 1st, 2008

 

ON THE DVD: This film is predictable but is also one that you just don't want to end. Our inner demons thirst for more lowlifes blown to kingdom-come by our, justifiably, psychologically-bent heroine. It's done with some panache. I don't think Jodie Foster is at her best but I do think the film is intriguing enough to watch even if so much more could have been done with the premise. Anyway - think a classy 'Death Wish' with some twists. 

The dual-layered, progressive Warner DVD (anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio) has some definite blue-green in the image. Perhaps it was intended... but it comes across more as sign of SD weakness - the high-definition DVD should bear this out. Colors are somewhat dullish and detail is a notch below standard for a modern film - cinematography could be the culprit though - again we'll see it in 1080P and give a comparative opinion. The rest has Warner's usual good DVD production - optional subs plus a competent and occasionally tested audio track.

Extras include a 20 minute 'Making of..." with soundbite input from director, writer, actors etc. . In it Jordan reflects on the films link to Noir. There are also some 'Additional Scenes' which constituent about 6 1/2 minutes of non-anamorphic extra footage not used in the final product - nothing noteworthy.

So the film? Yeah - what the heck. Perhaps, I was expecting more from Foster but I have to admit it held my attention pretty well, although I had severe moments of disbelief about the storyline details. Prepare for a standard vigilante yarn and you will undoubtedly be impressed... just don't expect too much. Director Jordan once again bridges the gap between mediocre and great.   

Gary W. Tooze

 

 


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