Jody Foster gives a stellar performance in The Brave One with her role as Erica Bain, a talk radio host in New York City. Her show is called “Street Walk” and that’s exactly what she does. She walks the streets of what she called “the safest big city in the world” with a microphone and recorder in hand. She records sounds from all over the city and then broadcasts them across the radio waves.
The story line is that she and her fiance’ are walking their dog after dark and are attacked by four men. The perpetrators had stolen a video camera prior to the attack on the character played by Foster and record the entire attack. Her fiance’ is beaten to death. She is beaten nearly to death but recovers physically. Out of fear, rage and need for revenge, she decides to take the law into her own hands and when she is unwilling to wait the required time prescribed by law to purchase a gun, she buys one illegally. At this point, I thought I knew what was going to happen. “Typical vigilante movie”, right? Wrong.
The movie is violent, contains bad language and sexual content, but the story of redemption literally took my breath away.
The authorities seem to be doing nothing about her case against the “men” who attacked her and her fiance’. Like I said, she takes matters into her own hands. After the killing, she is brazen enough to visit the scene of the crime and even interviews homicide Detective Mercer (played by Terrence Howard) about who the perpetrator might be.
After Bain has committed a few murders, Detective Howard begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Through a series of events, the recorded evidence of the attack is sent to Bain’s cell phone. She then forwards it to Detective Howard along with the simple attached message “good-bye”. Knowing what she is going to do, he is able to obtain the address of the men who killed her fiance’. He goes to the location but finds that Bain has already killed three of the men. When Howard comes on the scene, Bain is being choked with a crowbar and is defenseless. Howard stops the attacker and has him on the ground at gunpoint as Bain is screaming at them both. Howard is able to convince her to give him her gun and follows is a remarkable story of redemption.
Detective Howard knows beyond any doubt that Bain is guilty. He is so desperate to save her, however, that he chooses to put the law aside. He gives her his gun and walks away, allowing her to murder the last of the four that took part in her own attack and the murder of her fiance’. Howard steps back onto the scene and tells Bain the story of an arrest gone wrong in which he was wounded and the perpetrator escaped. She accepts his gun and shoots him in the shoulder and is able to walk away from the scene of the crime. Detective Howard then cleans her gun and his and puts her gun in the hand of the man that Bain has just murdered. The story ends with her fleeing free.
No, this is not a typical story of redemption. It won’t fit into any theological box and it shouldn’t be seen within the walls of a church. What I see, however, more than the violence, language and sexual content is the gift that God has given us as His children.
God knew without a doubt that we were guilty of sin. We are murderers, liars, cheaters, adulterers, etc…..We deserve to be tried, convicted and persecuted for our crimes. I personally have never committed a crime that is punishable by law but I have many times, committed crimes against God. He catches me in sin every day because He is always with me. He knows even more than I what I deserve and it’s not a pretty picture. Out of His great love for me, He asks me to surrender my weapon to Him. Some of my weapons of choice have been slanderous words, backbiting, lying, not submitting to those in authority over me, etc….My rap sheet is long and grievous, but because of the Blood of the Lamb, I have a clean slate.
My Savior came onto the scene of my life. He knew my sin. He knew I was guilty. Instead of casting me from His Presence, He asked for my weapon and when I surrendered it to Him, He wiped it clean, removed my guilty stains and set me free. All that was required of me was the surrender of my weapon of sin.
Romans 3:23-25 (The Message)
God Has Set Things Right
21-24But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. 25-26God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.