Fate does not mean that there is a plan. Fate means all outcomes are inevitable. We Own the Night is about fate. And in this case: no goddamn satisfaction for anybody. Wildly bleak. Almost no dramatic thunder. Yet: it's all drama. The three action set-pieces are remarkable. The whole thing seems wildly far-fetched, though it may not be, I don't know. The first and last scenes reflect one another commendably.
Very surprised by this. Passed on it for so long, finally gave it a chance, and voila - a fairly predictable crime-thriller with Hollywood sensibilities, but, set in a fairly unique period with a great lead performance. Not to mention the sporadic bursts of violence that keep the pace lively - and, as action sequences they are brutal and stylish. The final scene, set amidst the smoky reeds, was beautifully executed.
Very familiar material, though what we're asked to feel about said material is considerably less so. Point me to another iteration of this kind of story in which we're made to find the protagonist's becoming a cop *tragic*. The cliche-heavy dialogue is a bit harder to defend.
The first act has that same epic sweep of the mundane as the wedding that opens The Deer Hunter. The rest mixes Coppola's allegorical, melodramatic treatment of family (albeit on a smaller, more nuanced scale) with William Friedkin's morally confrontational approach to violence. Gray doesn't film action scenes so much as reaction scenes, drawing mood from the response, not the build-up. Masterful.
"We Own the Night" is the one post-millennial film I can think of that feels like the kind of crime movie William Friedkin or Michael Cimino could have made during the late 70's. And for that reason I think it deserves to be cherished, even if the screenplay didn't completely sell me on Joaquin Phoenix's transition from sleazy, drug-addled nightclub owner to repentent hero.
I like the way James Gray patiently builds his imaginary world through his films. He deliberately chooses family circles as an ideal place for tragedy to appear. Here, in We Own The Night, we have two families, two brothers and two fathers. And we have Robert Grusinsky, who changed his name to Bobby Green, desperately trying to find the right place and the right circle. Masterpiece.
Joseph Grusinsky "cross and jewish star! are you confused?" , mafia guy " no , not me " , ... I liked that question and answer and how connected with bobby he was totally confused between black and white , it's not about religion , but more about the choice
No one makes action sequences as moral as James Gray. As in The Yards' hospital scene, this film's set pieces evoke empathy rather than detached suspense, privileging emotion over the fetishising of physical reality. Vicious POVs ground us in hellish isolation while the objective shots deny any succinct sense of space. The car chase is chaotic to the point of producing a serene helplessness I've never felt before.