Sunday, 14 October 2007

Saturday Night at the Movies

We went to see We Own the Night tonight. Heather only had to pay for one adult as the baby's still living in her belly. Good thing too because it's an R-rated (Restricted) movie which means that people under the age of zero are not allowed in.

We Own the Night centres around 1980's nightclub manager Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix) who harbours the secret that he is both brother and son to two of New York's finest (Mark Wahlberg and Robert Duval respectively).

When the crime-fighting duo attempt to enlist Bobby's help to uncover a smuggling operation which involves one of his regulars, a predictable conflict of interest arises. Fortunately, this doesn't define the movie. Likewise the relationship between the two brothers does not smack of the yin and yang symmetry of The Departed. These were my worries going into the theatre. I should instead have worried about what would replace them as the story's hook.

It almost seems as if writer/director James Gray spends his time trying to avoid glaring clichés. Generally he succeeds and there are some nice touches such as the ringing ears accompanying gunshots and a thrilling - yet eerily quiet - car chase through rainy city streets.

Phoenix has a knack for playing characters on the brink of insanity in a suitably unsettling way. In this film, armed with a wobbly-cam(tm) and a bottle of spray-on sweat, he keeps the audience on-side as an unlikely hero who knows he's completely out of his depth. The rest of the star-studded cast compliments this with understated performances including Eva Mendes as Bobby's remarkably sympathetic girlfriend.

Ultimately, the film rolls from it's beginning to it's end without ever really leaving a lasting imprint. If you need the see every example of the current wave of cops 'n' gangsters films doing the rounds, this one's well worth your while. If you don't, it isn't.

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