25 November 2007 | midnight68
Childhood Terrors Revisted (Spoilers Ahead)
A brief, dark and thoroughly fascinating look at the terrors and trials of childhood, 'The Brave One' opens with a shot of a young girl hiding beneath her bed, quietly struggling to control her fears. As two faceless adults enter the darkened room, the girl recalls a number of frightening or painful experiences from her immediate past, each one filmed in an low-key atmosphere of silent dread.
Everyday objects take on menacing undertones: a staircase becomes a well of nightmares, an empty classroom a place of torment. Perhaps the most striking sequence involves a torturous variation of spin-the-bottle, in which the loser is whipped by the winner. While the girl is evidently a voluntary participant, the scene perfectly illustrates the sense of helpless terror and humiliation experienced by all children at some point of their lives.
Despite the initial suggestion of sexual abuse, her final ordeal is far more commonplace than expected (and is, in fact, a phobia universal to almost all children). Despite this revelation, the subject is cast in a wholly sympathetic light as the film's rite-of passage subtext is revealed. The camera fades out with a mid-shot of the girl's innocent, tear-streaked face as the adults dismiss her anxieties as trivial - a subtle reminder that ultimately, every child is forced to face their worst fears completely alone.