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Coming together to solve a series of murders in New York City are a police detective whose family was slain as part of a conspiracy and an assassin out to avenge her sister's death. The duo will be hunted by the police, the mob, and a ruthless corporation.
Brooklyn, 1988. Crime is rife, especially drugs and drug violence. A Russian thug is building his heroin trade, while everyone laughs at the cops. Brothers have chosen different paths: Joe has followed his father Bert into New York's Finest; he's a rising star. Bobby, who uses his mother's maiden name, manages a club. Bobby too is on the rise: he has a new girlfriend and a green-light to develop a Manhattan club. Joe and Bert ask him to help with intelligence gathering; he declines. Then, Joe raids Bobby's club to arrest the Russian. From there, things spiral out of control: the Russian puts out a hit on Joe, personal losses mount, and Bobby's loyalties face the test. Written by
"We Own the night" is the story of Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix), a nightclub manager who has chosen a life of partying, drugs and gambling which is in stark contrast to his police captain brother (Mark Wahlberg) and police chief father (Robert Duvall). As the film progresses, Bobby is forced to choose between staying loyal to his drug dealing Boss or siding with his family.
The greatest problem with this film is that its been done so many times before and with much better results. "Mean Streets" (1973), "The Departed" (2006) to name but a few. Director James Gray is obviously trying to do a Scorsese type feature here but it falls far short of expectations.
Joaquin Phoenix mumbles his way through the story with a one note performance and shows that he isn't capable of being a credible lead. The change his character goes through is implausible and Phoenix never gives you any reason to believe the metamorphosis as he doesn't act any differently through the whole process. The Script gives Robert Duvall (one of my favourite actors) little to do other than get angry at someone or something whenever he's on screen and Mark Wahlberg underplays his part so much that he's actually boring. The stunning Eva Mendes doesn't seem to do anything significant other than get groped in the opening scene by Phoenix. After that she seems to be there to provide the "eye candy" only.
The script is fairly weak and the plot does not justify the running time, 30 minutes less could easily have been achieved. There are also many situations that the characters get themselves into which no sensible adult would allow themselves to. This really stretches credibility and suspension of disbelief. Also, you'll particularly enjoy how inept the Hit-men are in this film ! The final showdown itself feels contrived and unexciting which caps off an uneven and somewhat thrown together production. I don't understand the rapturous applause that other reviewers have given this film, its been done so much better elsewhere.
"We own the night" is a misfire in my opinion.
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