DIRECTOR: James Gray
NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION
May Contain Spoilers!
Will we be adding this to our collection? NO
This is a crime film for crime movie fans. It has it all, from sex, violence, wires and gritty hits. But at its heart is family, here driven by the two leads, Mark Wahlberg and Jequium Phoenix, reunited in yet another of James Grey’s films. The tone is dark, with a realistic look as we are taken on trip back to 1988 and a fictional cop family, led by the Deputy Chief Of Police (NYPD) Robert Duvall, who is the father to Wahlberg’s up and coming cop, with Phoenix’s nightclub manager, who is not a criminal as such, but is a disappointment to his family.
As the trio become embroiled in an organised crime syndicate, they find themselves under a very personal attack and must take down the mob boss to save their lives. The problem with this film is that it plods its way through, lacking enough tension or high key performances to carry, what to me, should have been a taunt screenplay. Instead, it’s a bit flat, with Phoenix’s trademark sleepy performance. On the other hand, it’s quite good, driven by real motivations and characters, is what saves this from 5/10 rating is a fantastically low-key car chase which looked and felt phenomenal, ending with tragedy which would drive the story in a more dubious direction.
Phoenix will end up being granted special dispensation to become a cop in order to track down the mobster, a plot point that I found to be a little far-fetched, though maybe this sort of thing has happened, I don’t know but it just tipped the film over the edge of plausibility. I feel that We Own The Night, the motto of the now disbanded NYPD Street Crime Unit, which is headed up here by the fictional Captain Joseph Grusinsky (Wahlberg) thinks very highly of itself as a top quality crime drama, up there with the likes of The Godfather (1972) and Heat (1995), but it is not. It’s good and better if you like the genre, but this is a film set in the late 80’s, made in the style of The Godfather light, which was a quintessential 1970’s movie. It needed to pack more of a punch or have some of the style which films such as those of Michael Mann or Martin Scorsese.
A decent story, good cinematography and noble effort but failed to blow me away.