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This review is from: The Brave [DVD] (DVD)
If you are going to watch Johnny Depp films, you need to appreciate that this man uses his face to tell his story- sometimes there is no need for dialogue.
I found this a beautiful and sad film. For me, it was about the racism that North American Indians still face in their own country and how a young man (Raphael) has lived a sterotypical life of trying to make ends meet, turning to booze and crime. As a consequence, he feels utterly worthless, figuring that selling his life so that his family can escape the life of poverty will be the best option.
The character displays such dignity, such warmth and such pain as we see (mainly though his facial expression) how he makes yet another rash decision, believing there is no other option. He then learns from his wife what he needs to do- 'If you want to provide for your family, you have to love them'- so he rekindles his relationship with his wife and children for his last 7 days.
Marlon Brando is superb in his creepy role (did he agree to be in this after Don Juan?)and so is the nasty, nasty man who makes sure R does not change his mind. The scenes with the priest were superb too.
If you want to see JD tortured then you will be dissapointed (and have missed the whole atmosphere of the film). If you want to see a beautiful and sensitive actor and director, then this is one for you.
When you see an actor, you never know how much is him and how much is good direction- when you see an actor who has directed himself, you know it has come from the heart. This film is not just about Raphael but is a strong statement about discrimination and the consequences- perhaps that is why it was condemned by the critics, maybe it made some Americans too uncomfortable?.