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WE OWN THE NIGHT

SYNOPSIS:
In 1980s New York, the Russian Mafia has taken control of the drug trade, running operations in secret from the El Carib disco in Brooklyn, where Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix) is a happily uninvolved manager, preferring to spend time with his girlfriend Amada (Eva Mendes). Distanced from both his Deputy Police Chief father Bert Grusinsky (Robert Duvall) and his Police Captain brother Joe (Mark Wahlberg), Bobby gets reluctantly dragged into the bloody war against the drug runners, putting his and his family's life in great danger. He has to choose where to anchor his loyalties.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Russian criminals have a vicious screen image which perhaps reflects reality, but in any case, that makes them excellent villains in films like this, which are born from the seeds of reality. Emotionally charged images of policemen hugging each other at a comrade's funeral set in motion the idea for a story from the late 80s, when crime rates and crack distribution soared in New York.

The guts of the emotional journey come from setting two brothers on opposite sides of the law, amidst a crackdown on crack orchestrated by their father. Dealers who made their nest inside the El Carib nightclub where Bobby (Joaquin Phoenix) rules the roost as manager are targeted by the special task force - and that includes a nasty raid in which they capture their prime target. But this just sets off a series of bloody reprisals that force Bobby to abandon his carefree lifestyle fondling Amada (Eva Mendes) and to invest heavily in his father and brother - both morally and physically.

These are some of the finest actors in America, so it's no surprise that they deliver the goods and create solid, complex and accessible characters we can understand. The strong, good v evil story and the disciplined direction, together with plenty of thrilling action make the film engaging and entertaining. It's a rough world that's depicted in the film, with all the heavy emotions of love, revenge, greed and honour fighting for our heart and soul.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

WE OWN THE NIGHT (MA)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall, Alex Veadov, Dominic Colon, Danny Hoch, Oleg Taktarov, Moli Moshonov, Antoni Corone, Craig Walker, Tony Musante, Joe D'Onofrio, Yelena Solovey

PRODUCER: Marc Butan, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Nick Wechsler

DIRECTOR: James Gray

SCRIPT: James Gray

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Joaquin Baca-Asay

EDITOR: John Axelrad

MUSIC: Wojciech Kilar

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ford Wheeler

RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 28, 2008







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