Saturday, December 15, 2007

WE OWN THE NIGHT - exceptional cop thriller cum family drama

WE OWN THE NIGHT is a solid, well-made crime thriller set in late 80s Brooklyn. But at heart it's a story about two very different brothers and how they come to the point where they can finally admit that they love each other. That's what makes it exceptional. The first brother is Joseph, played by the much under-estimated Mark Wahlberg. Joseph is a decent family man and conscientous cop who followed his father into the force. Joaquin Phoenix turns in a searing performance as the second son, Robert, who has become a night-club manager with connections to Russian drug-dealers. Through the film, we see Robert forced to choose between the police and his adopted friends. Both brothers are deeply affected by the events: both make sacrifices. There are no pat happy endings, but there is genuine character development. Kudos to writer-director James Gray.

I really loved every aspect of this film. The production is flawless. The film-makers perfectly recreate the look and feel of the late 80s and the sound design is exceptional - particularly in the wire-tapping scene and the car chase scene. But the best part is that no character's actions or words ever seem out-of-character or sacrificies to plot exigencies. Kudos to writer-director James Gray.

WE OWN THE NIGHT played Cannes 2007. It was released in the USA, Canada, Norway, the Philippines, Brazil, Greece, Denmark, Bulgaria, Belgium, France and Romania. It is currently on release in Finland and the UK and opens next week in Iceland. It opens in January in Estonia, Russia, Sweden and the Netherlands. It opens in February in the Czech Republic, Argentina and Germany and in Spain in March.

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