When I saw the trailer for this movie a couple of months ago, I was mesmerized – kinda like the way I felt when I first saw the trailer for The Departed. Then as it comes to a close, they hit me with the title…”We Own the Night.” What? Sounds like an 80’s tune from a one-hit-wonder. The lame title brought my excitement down a notch, but nevertheless, the movie looked great. The cast alone was enough to entice me to the theater. Mark Wahlberg (Shooter), Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line), and Robert Duvall (The Godfather) star in this dark, gritty crime drama about a man who is torn between two worlds.
Joaquin Phoenix is Bobby, a nightclub manager living New York’s fast life. He has a beautiful, devoted girlfriend (Eva Mendes, Hitch) and lives a carefree existence, except as it relates to his family. His job puts him at odds with his brother and father, both of whom are deeply entrenched in law enforcement. When his brother Joseph (Mark Wahlberg) asks for his help nabbing a Russian drug dealer who frequents Bobby’s nightspot, his reluctance deepens the wedge between the two. Bobby would prefer to remain neutral, and feels no sense of duty to his family, or any desire to change his lifestyle. When Joseph raids the club and allows Bobby to be arrested, things come to a head. Soon tragic events compel Bobby to make the unlikely choice to help his father and brother. What follows next is an edge-of-your-seat journey as Bobby teeters on the line between the cops and the criminals. We Own the Night doesn’t break new ground in terms of concept or theme, but it felt refreshing and new. You could sympathize with Bobby as he unearthed a previously-buried sense of loyalty and duty. Joaquin Phoenix is a wonderful actor, and conveys the desperation, helplessness, and ultimate resolve of the character brilliantly. We watch him transition from aloof to resolute, and he gives an amazing performance.
The movie explored how the love of family is unyielding, despite any superficial differences. A superb crime drama that captivated from start to finish, We Own the Night will not disappoint. A must-see for lovers of the genre.