Monday, February 25, 2008

The Brave One Vs. The Canadian One

So last night Alison and I sat down with the HD DVD (RIP!) release of Neil Jordan's The Brave One, in which Jodie Foster does an excellent job of portraying a woman pushed towards vengeance by the anguish she feels over the death of her fiance at the hands of three thugs that the couple encounter in Central Park late one night.

First of all, don't go into Central Park late at night. That's not smart. Second of all, if you do and you have a big German Shepherd with you (as the couple does) don't let it off the leash for a cute little run around the area. That's not smart either. Just some words of caution for anyone considering that....

Regardless, it was a solid film. I wrote about it at length for DVD Talk, you can find my take on it there if you're so inclined. What stuck in my brain about it for whatever reason was the way that New York was portrayed in the film, and I left that out of my review as it's really not related to the film so much as it is to my own personal thoughts about the city I now call home. Let me preface this by saying, yeah yeah, I know, I've been here two months and I am fully cognizant of the fact that I am far from an expert on the crimes rates or policing practices in place here. Regardless, Foster's character encounters a horrible ordeal where she and her fiance are attacked. He dies, she lives. She buys a gun and then, that very night, goes to a convenience store and witnesses a murder. She's forced to use her gun to save her life. A day or two later, she's on the subway and is threatened. Bang bang, problem solved.

In this film, NYC is a haven for crime. While parts of the city maybe, the upscale part of Manhattan where this film plays out probably isn't. Here in lil' ol' Jackson Heights the streets are very well patrolled. So good is the 5-0 coverage in fact that I'm happy to admit that I feel safer walking the streets here than I did in Portland, OR. or in Toronto (the other two major cities I've had the luck to live in for prolonged periods of time).

Obviously in a city this size, horrible crimes are going to happen (just last week a man hacked up his shirk with a meat cleaver - they caught him in Queens a few subway stops away from where I sit as I write this) but it's also a city with an amazing history and a lot to offer. Anyone who opts not to jump in based out of fear is doing themselves a disservice. NYC is a tough town, it has to be out of necessity, but it's got a culture and a strange vibe all its own and Neil Jordan's skewed view won't stop me from exploring more, and I'll do it without the aid of a concealed handgun. Instead I'll just stay out of dark alleys, not wander through tunnels in remote areas and just use plain old common sense. Big cities all over the world suffer from crime problems but people still live in them. Even after the events of 9/11 there was no mass exodus off of the island. Anyone I know who lived in Manhattan before the towers fell still lives there. For the most part, especially POST 9/11, NYC is a pretty rad place. I like it here. A lot. There's nowhere else like it. Parking sucks, but it's a great place and I intend to hang my hat here for a long time to come.

Oh and check out The Brave One. It's well done. A smart film, very well acted by Foster and Terrence Howard, and it's got some nice cinematography. And I realize that the city is portrayed the way it is in the film for dramatic effect, and on that level, it's certainly an understandable decision. It just got me to thinking is all...

1 comment:

Patrick Roberts said...

Foster did a pretty good job in Brave One, a good demonstration of the power of fear... it felt like the detective compromised his convictions at the end, tho, kind of a let down