(out of 5)
Jodie Foster is once again the nation’s face of tragedy, this time as a radio show host who spends her days travelling the streets of New York recording the many sounds of its energetic happenings as background for her on-air monologues. One night while walking her dog with her fiance (Naveen Andrews) in Central Park, the two of them are attacked by vicious thugs, he is beaten to death and she barely survives, waking up weeks later in the hospital. Unable to face the world with the same optimism, and no longer believing in the safety of her city (dubbed “the safest large city in North America”), Foster buys a gun and begins patrolling the streets at night looking to solve the Big Apple’s crimes. Her vigilante actions, killing criminals and fleeing the scene, awaken the attentions of a police officer (Terrence Howard) with whom she is already becoming friends. Neil Jordan’s moody drama is slick and entertaining, and wants very much to be a modern Taxi Driver, even going so far as to hire that film’s female star, but fails because of unnecessary moralizing and some cheap emotional string-pulling. Did we need flashbacks to Foster making love with Andrews while Sarah McLachlan croons over the soundtrack? De Niro’s Travis Bickle was a man reacting to the constant repression of his masculine ego, his behaviour a full pendulum-swing opposition to being, as he believed, held down. Foster’s situation is an unfortunate one in this film, and it’s understandable that after such a terrible tragedy her sense of security would be threatened, but why her entire view of morality and justice would be completely reversed is never properly explained. On the upside, it’s never boring, and there’s a bit of a thrill in the revenge-themed scenes of unabashed violence.
Directed by Neil Jordan
Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot
Music by Dario Marianelli
Production Design by Kristi Zea
Costume Design by Catherine Marie Thomas
Film Editing by Tony Lawson