Everything Wrong With The 2007 Movie "The Brave One"
Taking the "task" to punish people with your own hands.
Today I'm going to discuss what is ethically wrong in the movie “The brave one” with Jodie Foster. First, I will do it in a small summary format so you as the reader will understand what the movie is about. Before I start I want to point out that the whole movie was very dry to my taste and Jodie Foster carried this movie. She was playing incredibly well, when other actors were playing their roles pretty weak and poorly.
Erica, a radio host, and her boyfriend, David, are attacked in their home town New York City. The attack took place at a park, in a tunnel. As usual, the couple lets their dog off the leash, when the dog doesn’t return the couple goes looking for them. They find three men holding their pet and demanding a “reward.” David refuses, and that is when they are attacked. In my opinion people should be educated that nothing is more valuable than your own life. It's always better to give away your valuables rather than giving away your life. Valuables can be replaced, but nobody can replace you.
One of the assailants filmed this attack. David did not survive the attack, Erica was in a coma for three weeks. Traumatized Erica returns home. Erica is now shown afraid of her city and doesn't want to leave her own house. Eventually Erica visits the police station to check on the case, but the police don’t seem too eager to help her. She gets tired of waiting and leaves. There was definitely a problem on the police side. The welcoming police officer didn’t have good interpersonal skills. He absolutely shouldn't have said “I realize how difficult it could be, but can you please have a seat right over there, an officer will be down shortly to help you.” This officer doesn't even have an idea how difficult it can be. He should have done a much better job in calming Erica down. The better response probably would have been “I know that this situation can be difficult and I cannot even realize how hard it is for you. I will try to help you as fast and as best as possible. Can you please wait for an officer right there, and remember that if you have any questions, I will be right here.” There was also a scene before this one when two detectives were interviewing Erica after she got out of coma. One of the detectives made a similar mistake by pushing the answers out of Erica, saying a similar phrase “I understand how hard it can be '' and the detective immediately got a response from Erica “Do you?!’.
After Erica left the police station. She goes to the gun store. Seeing that it is too long of a wait, she purchases an unlicensed gun from some guy that approached her on the street. The movie showed us that just recently, Erica was experiencing social anxiety. Erica wants a gun so she will not have fear to walk around. Now suddenly, with no gun, she has no problem at all following a random dude into the dark alley (just because he told her that he has a gun for sale).
After purchasing this gun she subsequently starts using it with little to no hesitation. Without any previous training with handling a handgun, she shows us that she is a natural in it and can compete with John Wick himself. First she uses her new gun at a convenience store when a robber came in and shot the cashier dead. Suddenly Erica's phone starts ringing and the robber starts to hunt for the witness. Erica kills him from the other side of a shelf. Didn't Erica have a choice? I think she did. She could have tried to sneak out of the store and call the police. Or even after killing the person she could have called the police. It could have been deemed as self defense, especially after what she went through. I do realise that she had an unlicensed gun and that’s why she wanted to hide and destroy the video footage. People generally do not want to deal with law and that's why this scene still has some logic behind it. The right thing to do for Erica was probably to try and just stay away from trouble in the future and actually to try to get an official gun license.
However Erica didn’t understand anything from her previous encounter. On the Subway two thugs started harassing passengers. Even after everybody has left the train, Erica decided to stay. Both of the harassers notice her and pull out a knife as they approach her. Erica was ready. She killed both of them with her incredible sharpshooting skills. The movie does show how she is very worried about what she had done. To conclude, if you decide not to stay away from trouble and wait to see what is going to happen. It is only your own fault.
Erica’s third murder was on a pimp-kidnapper. After deciding to search for some adventures on her ass, she finds it. When a guy in a car asks her “how much?’ Erica with full confidence that she is untouchable, approaches the car. She sees a drugged young girl in his backseat. She starts talking with the pimp and even sits in his car. After talking to the girl, she wants to get out with her. The pimp locks the car and tells her that she isn't going anywhere. Erica pulls out a gun, she manages to get the man to payout the money that he owed to the girl. She gets out of the car with the girl. Erica puts away her gun and they walk away with their back to the front of the car. The pimp decides to get revenge and starts driving full speed at them. Erica throws the girl to the side. Instead of getting out of the way, (like any other person would do) she pulls out her gun (again) and shoots the driver dead. The car runs over the drugged girl. Erica hides behind a tree as she had enough thought to wait for the ambulance to find the girl.
This is like a “Batman gone wrong” movie. It is surprising how much violence Erica runs into right after her incident. On Erica’s talk shows people praise the killer as the “vigilante” and say that “he” does the job for the police. Detective Mercer tried helping Erica “recover” from the incident. Erica interviews Mercer for her talk-show. It was very unprofessional of Mercer to share details on a murder case, off the record.
The next day, Erica hunts down the man who Mercer described as “untouchable” by law. She is on the phone with Mercer moments before she kills this man. From this scene you can tell that Mercer has guessed who the killer is (from the elevator “ding.”). It is very strange for me that Erica has thought about removing the videotape from the store of her first homicide, but she hasn't thought about that Mercer will be able to calculate her location on the call.
Mercer tries carefully speaking with Erica to get her to admit her crimes. Mercer calls Erica in to identify the man that assaulted her. Through Erica’s flashback we can see that Erica has recognized the man that killed her boyfriend. She doesn’t say anything to the police. Erica seemed to be so “blood thirsty” that she decided to punish David’s killer herself, rather than by law.
Erica tracks down her boyfriend’s killer. She kills his “buddies” and gets to the killer. She was like a train at full speed with broken brakes. She killed everybody who would stand in her way to get the revenge. Well, I don’t know what’s going on in her head, maybe she just wanted to get her dog back. John Wick mindset? Anyway, she could have done it lawfully. Perhaps she just wanted to be sure that revenge would be done. She chose the easy way.
Meanwhile Mercer tracks down David’s killer as well. He finds Erica holding her gun to her love’s killer. Mercer gives her his gun and tells Erica that he has an authority to kill, but she doesn’t. What kind of authority? Has the NYPD started giving out 007 licence? Erica shoots and kills the killer. Mercer then tells Erica to shoot Mercer in the arm, which she does and runs off. Mercer wipes fingerprints from Erica’s gun and leaves it beside the dead body. The detective Mercer has covered Erica. He has made it to appear as if David’s killer was the “ill batman” all along.
To conclude, Killing these people was just the easy way that will guarantee the result Erica wanted. Erica wanted “justice.” Yes, a tragedy had happened. A terrible tragedy. For some reason, this tragedy became an excuse for her to kill. She became just as cruel and cold blooded. It may have been more understandable if she went to take revenge specifically on those who killed her boyfriend. No, she went looking for adventure at her fifth point. And found them!
Detective Mercer was an even more absurd character for me. He long and diligently was seeking for the vigilante. Mercer was the guy that talked so much about morals, about a thin line between good and evil. He talked about how he is the guy that stands on the side of the law. In reality when he found the vigilante he let her go from personal sympathy to her. I believe that if someone else turned out to be the avenger, he would have done things completely differently. So, what all his conversations led to? Why in general in this situation do we need a police? To help create “justice” to such cute and unhappy avengers?
This movie has sparked debates on ethics when it comes to punishment, and taking it into your own hands. This movie really left me wondering what moral of the story it had? The only moral of the story that I saw was that it is alright to take matters into your own hands when it comes to “punishing” a criminal. The police will even be on your side. That’s a completely wrong message that this story sends to people!
I want to make a point that vigilantism is an absolutely wrong thing to do. Both morally and lawfully! If everyone took the “task” of punishing people into their own hands. It would be a mess, because everyone’s interpretation of how a person should be punished is different. Erica’s actions were irrational, she went with gut instincts rather than head suggestions. Erica did not follow any moral map and with this she just proved that she is no better than the guy that killed her boyfriend.
Also, to be a guy that helps vigilantes is illegal, to say nothing that it is completely unethical, especially when you are the person that is supposed to protect the law. Mercer failed to apply ethics (a set of principles). At the end Mercer focused solely on one individual’s interest (Erica) and how he feels about her. He did not think of the best interest of society. Mercer thought with his male organ, which is unethical. Mercer’s actions may have been ethical towards Erica, but not towards society.