I saw a murder victim once. Well, I didnt really see him, but I definitely saw the body bag that he was in. At least I think it was a body bag. I mean, it was black and people were hovering around it so I assumed it as such.
Details aside, the fact was that several years ago while in Denver, Colorado, I walked past a park where a murder had been committed the night before. It wasnt hard to tell that something had gone horribly wrong because of the abundance of police cruisers, ambulances, and rubber-gloved detectives.
While I could have easily gone about my business and continued on with my walk, I found myself drawn to the murder scene. I had an innate desire to find out what had happened. I wasnt sure what I hoped to see, I just knew I had to see it.
People were talking to one another and milling about so I didnt feel as though I was intruding. In fact, I learned that there is a whole faction of society who sits by their police scanners waiting for these situations to occur so they can hop in their cars and get a firsthand look. There were no tears or drama, just professionals and onlookers going about their business in a very business-like fashion.
I read the next day that the victim, a young man apparently out for a late night jog, had been bludgeoned to death the ultimate wrong-place-at-the wrong-time scenario. The article spoke about his commitment to family, his hard working nature, and the utter devastation of his new bride (the two had only been married a few months).
I remember feeling sick to my stomach as I contemplated his life and tragic demise. How absolutely unfair is it that someone in the prime of their life, who obviously gave and loved in abundance, would be senselessly slaughtered for a Walkman and a digital watch?
Sometimes when I contemplate tragic events such as these, I try to imagine what I would do under the same circumstances. How would I deal with the loss? How would I find the strength to go on? How would I live in the same house? But by far the biggest question is always, How good would it feel to find the person responsible and make them pay for their actions?
Police call these individuals vigilantes, and while people who take matters into their own hands can be publicly sympathized with, the act of vengeance without due process can have dire consequences to the social fabric of a community.
Throughout history many vigilante groups have formed when the justice system failed to protect endangered citizens, usually by fighting gangs and organized crime syndicates. A recent example of vigilantism arose when groups formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to protect property from looters.
Not surprisingly, Hollywood has capitalized on this unique subject with numerous vigilante films, including classics like Taxi Driver, Falling Down, and the Death Wish series. The trend continues this week with the release of The Brave One, a story about a middle-aged woman who, because of insipid circumstances, decides to take the judicial system into her own hands.
The Brave One stars Oscar winner Jodie Foster and Oscar nominee Terrance Howard, two of Hollywoods more intense actors. Together the duo formed an interesting bond, one that hovered cautiously between attraction and admiration without crossing into a predictable love scenario.
I enjoyed this movie because it spoke to an inner desire for justice. Weve all been wronged in our lives and contemplated what it would be like to get back at those who wronged us. The Brave One allows the viewer to act upon these desires. I wasnt overly happy with the way the film wrapped up a little too neat for my tastes but it did cover all the necessary bases to make it a solid film choice.
Check this one out if youre in the mood for an edgy, intense drama. Just be prepared for some graphic violence along the way. An abrasive B for The Brave One.