Jodie Foster brings a woman living in New York City as a radio personality named Erica Bain with a deeply loved fiance who is brutally attacked in Central Park and almost destroyed as a result of it emotionally in this 2007 Neil Jordan movie.
Traumatized by the crime, by the lackadaisical and overworked NYPD and New York City’s strict gun laws, she purchases an illegal handgun and begins carrying it with her to stop her from being afraid of the dark areas of the city at night and to right wrongs when she sees them and in doing so, help make the city a safer and better place.
The real meat of the film is the same question of morality that was discussed on The Boondock Saints, albeit with a great deal more character development and introspection. If the legal limits set in place for a just society continually fail to prevent evil people from committing horrific crimes, is it ever permissible for an individual to utilize extralegal vigilante justice in an effort to help stop the crimes the police are either unwilling or unable to stop?
Interviewed for her radio show and then slowly developing into a sympathetic suspect by Detective Mercer (Terrence Howard), Foster‘s character only kills people who are either harming her or have harmed her and is thus sympathetic. She finds herself in situations where common sense tells people to just runaway and give up and instead of doing that, she acts and puts an end to the danger and this gives both hope and a diturbing reflection upon an individual’s morality that would allow them to feel such things about what is essentially the killing of another human being; one which is acting in a horrible manner, no doubt, but a human being all the same.
As Erica and Detective Mercer find themselves developing a friendship and respect for another as the events transpire around them, Mercer begins to suspect Erica is the vigilante he is supposed to be seeking and this plagues his conscience. Should he arrest her and bring her to justice for her breaking the laws he is sworn to protect, or allow her to continue her run and fix some of the mistakes that the cracks in the legal system are allowing truly terrible people to roam freely and continue their evil ways?
The acting is absolutely superb and a sense of suspense and tension permeats the movie heavily. The ending leaves the viewer with the same internal moral questions that plagued Detective Mercer and Erica Bain: at what point, if ever, can vigilante justice ever be truly just?