Monday, November 15, 2010
The Brave (1997)
Johnny Depp's sole outing as a director is a film that kind of boggles the mind. As far as I know it has never gotten a US release, and I'm not sure it ever really got much of a release anywhere, though it is available on DVD elsewhere in the world. Considering the subject matter I'm not really surprised that the film is off the charts. I picked up a copy years ago from Video Search Of Miami on VHS tape. I'm kind of ambivalent about the film to the point that I don't think I've transferred the film over to DVD.
The plot concerns a down on his luck American Indian who desperately needs money for his family. In order to get the money he accepts an offer from a mysterious man (Marlon Brando in a role that is a bit more than a cameo) to be killed in a snuff film. The majority of the film concerns Depp's probable final time with his family as he sees life with new eyes and ponders going back on the deal.
I'm not going to lie, this is a bleak film. This is not a happy story. It's the story of what one man will do to provide for his family when he has no other options. The film is not exploitative (except in its set up), which makes it even more maudlin.
The film depresses me. I've seen it twice. Once when I first got it, and another time when I made a copy for a friend who was a HUGE Johnny Depp fan. Frankly I never want to see it again. In all honesty I don't know if I like it, but I kind of like that the film is out there.
You're probably wondering, if I'm really not in love with the film, why am I mentioning it? I'm telling you about the film because it's well made enough, and heartrending enough, that it deserves to be noted. If nothing else Johnny Depp equates himself quite well as a director. It's also a film that is so far off the beaten track that it's in serious danger of being buried forever.
If you are a fan of Johnny Depp or films that are really off the beaten track, not to mention sad, then try to track this film down. If you're not into maudlin evenings give this film a pass.