Time: 122 mins.
SYNOPSIS: After a brutal assault kills her fiancé and leaves her battered and barely alive, a New York radio talk show host takes her anger out on the dregs of society saving other potential victims, but drawing the attention of the police who can't condone vigilantism. Will she mete out justice on her attackers before the cops discover her and stop her plans?
BOTTOM LINE: When one considers the quality of the product coming out of Hollywood these days, it's easy to understand why Foster chooses to work so infrequently. While this intense and dark film gives her a role that shows her talent in its full glory, the idea driving the plot – of a female vigilante – is pretty hard to swallow despite her remarkable performance. Her rage and bitterness over the cruel and casual destruction of her happy life is palpable, drawing you into her pain and her need for justice. I could even believe that she'd start carrying a gun and might even use it to protect herself from another brush with the city's random acts of violence. However, no matter how clever and desperate she was to find her fiancé's killers and exact revenge that scenario is something that could only happen in the movies. If the police can't find them, neither is she.
While her quest is what drives the plot, it's the complete change in her personality that keeps you engaged. She's compelled to protect others regardless of the consequences to herself and the bloody aftermath of her actions. She doesn't even care if she gets caught, because living life as she used to, is no longer an option for her. Howard plays the detective assigned to her case, who befriends her in the hopes of helping her move on with her life. What he fails to realize is that she's in their relationship in the hopes of getting information that will lead to her chance for revenge. She doesn't want no stinking justice. He's clearly not the brightest bulb because he never once suspects that she might be the vigilante, even though she's not really hiding the fact. Of course, you have to give him a bit of slack since gun-toting killers are rarely petite, college-educated, white women. (Which is somewhat surprising considering how much rage PMS generates.) The film would have been even better if we didn't know for sure what she was up to, giving it a bit more mystery and suspense. It's only a matter of time before Howard catches up, yet his trusting nature forces the story to drag a bit in the middle.
As it stands, we get to see Foster make some fairly dangerous human beings pay for their crimes, which is, at least, cathartic, if not exactly legal. While the ending plays out as expected, the emotional payoff is surprisingly heartfelt and poignant, especially the final moments between Howard and Foster. She may get what she was searching for, but you know from the beginning, it's still not going to be a happy ending. A smart, intelligent and emotion-filled film that challenges ones ideas about crime and punishment, despite it's very Hollywood finish.