"We Own the Night," which takes its title from the 1980s-era slogan of the N.Y.P.D's street crime unit, is a raw and intense film about familial ties, the bond of blood, brotherhood and love. With an all star cast that includes Academy Award winner Robert Duvall and Academy Award nominees Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg, who also serve as the film's producers, this film promises to live up to its much hyped reputation.
Director James Gray is no stranger to mobster and corruption films. His first two films - "Little Odessa," was another grim story that involved Russian gangsters much like "We Own the Night," and "The Yards" was an enigmatic story of political corruption - evoking the old world urban rawness of earlier crime eras; the times when gangsters and mobsters shared tables with politicians and police officers.
It is 1988, and New York's drug trade is intensifying. The Russian drug smugglers and the N.Y.P.D. are like warring societies in a fight to the death and at the center of it all are two brothers: Joseph Grusinsky (Mark Wahlberg), a clean-cut and ambitious cop who is following in the footsteps of his father Burt (Robert Duvall), the legendary chief of police. Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix), is an untouchable, somewhat irresponsible Brooklyn nightclub owner who has turned his back on the family business and concealed his relationship to this long line of New York cops by changing his last name.
For Bobby, life is an endless party, which he shares with his Puerto Rican girlfriend Amada (Eva Mendes) and though he keeps his distance from the drug smuggling that operates out of his club, the legendary El Caribe in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach, by a Russian mobster, life hits a little too close to home when this very mobster becomes the target of a drug investigation that is headed by his own brother.
At its darkest points, "We Own the Night" is a modern Cain and Abel and an eye for an eye tale. Its richer moments are filled with a deep, almost unexplainable love, but in its belly there is a raw and terrifying hedonistic undertone. This movie is not for the feint of heart; it is an intense, melodramatic piece that deserves of all the attention it gets. Look for "We Own the Night" opening today.
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We Own the Night
October 12, 2007