We own the night

We own the night

This week I watched the 2007 James Gray film We Own The Night, staring Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendez and Mark Walberg. The name of the film comes from the 1980 NYC police force slogan during the city’s extensive drug war. The Film follows a NYC club manager named Bobby Green (Phoenix). Green is thrust into the seedy underbelly of the city as a result of his job, and begins to thrive within this drug culture. All seems to be going well for Green until it is reviled that this brother and father are both New York City cops. Green is asked by his family to go under cover at his nightclub and help bring a notorious dealer to justice. Green turns them down and soon after his brother is shot by the same dealer. Green feels responsible for his brothers shooting and decides to go undercover and attempt to bring the drug deals to justice. What follows is a dark and fast paced story of New York City Redemption.

The first thing that drew my attention while watching we own the night, was how super stylized it is. There are so many shots throughout the films that will wow you. The sad thing is that these same shots that are so stylized and gorgeous do little to advance the story and almost seem to stand out against the overall tempo of the film. It’s one thing to have beautiful shots, it is quite another to advance the plot or the characters with visual storytelling and we own the night falls just short of this feat. On the other hand what I loved about this movie is that much like in a Scorsese film the city itself becomes a character. Also Gray dose an amazing job of putting you back in the 80’s, from the soundtrack to the costumes and even the hair dos everthing picture perfect.  The acting in this film is tremendous and the characters are rich and entertaining. The story however left little to be desired and I think with a little tweaking this movie could have been a giant. With all thing considered I give this movie a 3 ½ out of 5 and recommend it for a night where a good movie is desired but deep thinking is not on the menu .


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