Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Brave

The Brave, the first and only film directed by Johnny Depp, tells the story of an Indian, Raphael (Johnny Depp), who lives in a trailer park with his wife and two children. Recently released from jail he has serious troubles finding a job, and fails to earn an income for his family. Struck by poverty, the tensions within the family become worse. Raphael is always drunk so he’s starting to lose touch with his wife and children. While he’s convinced he has nothing to offer in life and life has nothing to offer him, he is approached by some rednecks led by McCarthy (Marlon Brando). Raphael is offered $50 000 and in return he agrees to be tortured to death by the rednecks. Raphael agrees and afterwards he gets blackmailed: if he does not live up to the agreement, they will go after his family.

When I started watching this movie, I didn’t really know what to expect. The short synopsis gave me the idea the movie would be unconventional and I was wondering if I would actually see a man being tortured to death. But what I saw was a film full of symbolism about a man who can’t cope with how meaningless his life is. The movie creates a man in total despair until he made the agreement with the rednecks. Afterwards it’s nicely done how throughout the movie Raphael evolves from a drunken man to a devoted husband and father. The ironic part of it is that the cause of this evolution is the given that he’s going to die in a couple of days. His life becomes meaningful at the moment his only prospect is death. The evolution of Raphael and the way he copes with his approaching death are very good material for discussion about how to interpret the symbolism in this film. I think that was one of the purposes Johhny Depp was trying to create with this film and he succeeded in it very well.

The symbolism, however, comes with a side effect. Not much is happening in this movie, so the movie can give the feeling to be very tedious. For example, it takes over 10 minutes for the first line of dialogue to be spoken. That’s why it’s important to know what kind of film you’re about to see in advance, otherwise you can be very disappointed as a viewer. Actually the criticism here is that the short synopisis creates a total different idea of the movie.

With regard to the acting performances, the way Johhny Depp performs as Raphael shows what a great actor he is. You feel what he’s feeling just by the look in his eyes. I believed him. Johnny Depp also plays a very demanding role, especially because he’s present in every scene. Another great, yet short, performance is brought to us by Marlon Brando. He’s only present in two scenes but when he gives his idea about death, pain and bravery, his performance is magnificent.

The Brave is very good film if you love movies with symbolism. Although the short synopsis creates a total different idea, you must be aware of what kind of movie you’re about to see. Johhny Depp and Marlon Brando are once more a lust for the eye of a movie-loving audience.


  1. Very nice review. With this in mind, I think I'll watch it as well

  2. Made me curious about the movie. Love Johnny Depp!