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The Brave (1997)

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 118 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Johnny Depp – who also directs – plays Raphael, an unemployed and alcoholic Native American who lives with his wife and two children in a squalid trailer park on a rubbish dump. Desperate to find some way to secure his family's future, and convinced that he himself has nothing to offer, he signs a deal with McCarthy (Marlon Brando) – a maker of 'snuff' films. He agrees that in exchange for a substantial sum of money to go to his family, he will turn himself over in one week to be tortured to death on camera.

Raphael returns to his home with a week to live, and starts spending his cash advance on his family. He finds that his impending death has changed his perception of life and he starts to discover himself. He proceeds to turn his junkyard home into a playground for the neighbourhood kids, makes friends with his children, and falls in love with his wife all over again. Looming over it all is his secret and as time passes he finds himself in two minds over the deal he has signed. However, contracts like these can be hard to get out of.

This film opens with some action, but the rest lacks pace and suspense, at least until the twist in the tail ends it with a bang. Depp's direction is sadly a little woolly and much of the film seems to wander along at its own pace. While the plot is intriguing, the characters lack some depth and it takes the duration of the film before one really starts to sympathise with them. Fortunately most of the acting holds up well to scrutiny, preventing it from sliding completely down to disaster. The film is also much helped by the score by Iggy Pop, which does generally fit the film well.

It's Got: A gripping finale.

It Needs: Direction and editing with more crispness to it.

DVD Extras Only a theatrical trailer with this basic DVD. Extras: Theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10


This is a moderately successful drama with plenty of tension, which is worth watching if only to find out how it ends.