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We Own the Night (2007)
"We Own The Night" is a wonderful movie
I had wanted to see this film for a long time. I purchased it without seeing it first, and think it is a great movie. I was surprised that many more people were not saying more about it, esp. Roger Ebert.
It is, for many scenes, often even blocked exactly the same, a wonderful homage to the Godfather movies. The two sons with different temperaments, the female "outsider" i.e. Amanda/Kay characters; the father loving both, the "meetings" with the family, cops and brothers; the car scene where Bobby is in the front seat of the car going to make the meeting with the Russians, and then cut to the car spinning and going in the opposite direction; the lighting where the eyes are blacked out when Bobby meets the Russians, when the Duvall character is shot and falls in the street, and many others.
I liked this movie better thanGF3, to be honest.
It is, also, one of the most beautifully photographed films I have seen in a long time. The DP, and visual team did a wonderful job. Any still could stand on it's own as a great picture.
All of the acting, and especially work done by Eva Mendes, was fantastic!
What would have helped the film, for me, was most likely missing on the page: memorable dialog and interesting bad guys-why did we fear the Russians in the first place? They can't even kill right, and when cornered, they cut their own throats. In addition, it needs to have more conflict, revenge, and character arc, especially for Bobby. That he "changes" careers in the end would work better if he was a bad ass for the earlier part of the film.
It's OK that it moves slow, but it has to pay off in the end and there must be an emotion that drives us to want to get to the end; revenge is a good one; the audience has to "want" to get the bad guys as much as the characters in the movie. It is not over done; It broods, yes, but the only one that gets really "angry" is Amanda, played by Eva Mendes.
The only other things that needed a little more drama was the car chase ref to "Bullett"-we're in the car, not "looking" in; the reveal that the best friend was giving away the info, ref. to God Father 2-we never expected it; and the shoot out in the field, ref. to "Heat" takes place at night, and lots of blind spots.
If you say you did not like it, give it another shot. Someteims, when movies are slower than we expect it takes a while to get into them.
Every Film Student Should See this Movie
If you are a film student, along with Citizen Kane and other required viewing, this is a movie that you should see. It is a primary example of what happens when 90% of everything goes well, stellar in fact, but wrong steps with marketing sink the project. If you were expecting a fighting movie, I can understand you being very disappointed. This is not a bad movie, far from it, but it is not a "fighting" movie as the posters and teasers had us to believe. If you saw it in a theater, you'll be more angry, as not only did you not get the movie you were expecting, you can't get your money back.
In the one film class that I took (wish I could go to film school like some of you) we learned that there are at least 10 or so elements that classify a movie as being "Film Noir". I think that fight movies are very similar. None of the "elements" of fighting movies are in this film. There are only three fights, they were inconsistent as to the kind of fighting, (the second fight looks more like wrestling than fighting). The overall pacing is a little off, in that scenes that move fast move too fast, while others had lyrical timing. (i.e. when Harvey finds Sean sleeping on the park bench). Unlike another poster wrote, the characters don't mumble, however, Terry's accent is never the same from scene to scene.
That aside, here is what did work for me: (1) The acting. Every actor on the screen did a wonderful job; they were honest, intuitive, and believable. (2) The cinematography was exceptional. For example, at 1.07.9 when Harvey (Terrence Howard) is coming through a door that has the shadows of trees in the background, the over head (crane?) shots of the second fight, to name a few.
I don't want to ramble, but there are many other things about this movie that really make it a 7 on my rating. Now that you are aware that this is not a fight movie, I encourage you to watch it again with a different perspective. As to being a story teller, I do think that Dito is among the very best.