We Own the Night

Sometimes you pick up a £3 DVD from the supermarket and are amazed to discover on watching that it’s actually a good movie. If a film’s only recommendation on the cover comes from Loaded magazine, this is unlikely to be the case, but the exception is We Own the Night, a New York crime thriller from James Gray (Little Odessa, The Yards) starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg and Eva Mendes. Set in Brooklyn in the late 80s, it’s a familiar tale of a son gone bad – in this case Phoenix’s character, Bobby, who turns his back on his policemen father and brother family to play the clubland king, mixing it up with gangsters and lowlifes. None of this is so unusual, or indeed all that interesting but what makes the film stand out is the understated quality throughout of acting and direction. Eva Mendes is particularly splendid but it’s a couple of key scenes that really make the movie. Firstly there’s an agonising scene in a stash house where the tension could be cut even easier than the drugs, and then there’s  this chase scene (sorry, embedding not allowed). I like to think this pays homage to The French Connection, rather than ripping it off. The way the whole scene is choreographed to the windscreen wipers is wonderful.

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