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Awesome: 20.45%
Worth A Look29.55%
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Pretty Crappy: 20.45%
Sucks: 4.55%

5 reviews, 14 user ratings

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We Own the Night
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by EricDSnider

"Perfect if you like morose, unoriginal cop dramas."
3 stars

James Gray wrote and directed "Little Odessa" in 1994, waited until 2000 to make "The Yards," and has waited since then to do "We Own the Night." The question I have is: Why the wait? It couldn't have taken seven years to write a screenplay this leaden and uninspired. Surely something like this could be churned out in a weekend.

He's rejoined by his "Yards" stars, Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg, who no doubt were hoping for something as substantive as their previous collaboration. Phoenix plays Bobby, a Queens nightclub manager who, in these heady times (it's set in 1988), enjoys his cocaine and other drugs as much as the club's freewheeling patrons do. He has not followed the same path as his brother Joseph (Wahlberg), who's a straitlaced cop, as is their father (Robert Duvall).

Bobby's club is owned by an old Russian man, Marat (Moni Moshonov), who treats Bobby like a son. Bobby is more affectionate with the old guy than he is with his real father, who needless to say considers Bobby something of an embarrassment. Marat's nephew, Vadim (Alex Veadov), is an increasingly notorious drug lord, and he uses the club as a base of operations; Marat apparently has nothing to do with it. The cops -- led by Bobby's brother and dad -- want Bobby to help them take down the whole enterprise. Bobby is torn between his two worlds. Et cetera.

Wahlberg and Phoenix are good enough, of course, and you can't go wrong with Robert Duvall, and Eva Mendes, who plays Bobby's girlfriend, is awfully pretty and doesn't detract much except for when she speaks or tries to emote, at which point everything grinds to a halt. But still. You can ignore her.

What the film lacks is originality. There's not a single surprise to be found, no twists on the old formula, nothing to distinguish this from a particularly gritty episode of "Hill Street Blues." Gray manages exactly two noteworthy scenes: In one, Bobby is led into the inner sanctum of the cocaine operation, his tension and nervousness palpable to the viewer; in the other, three cars chase each other in the pouring rain, with the occupants of one vehicle shooting at the occupants in the others. Otherwise? Nada. What has Gray been doing the past seven years? I hope he wasn't on the clock.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16762&reviewer=247
originally posted: 10/12/07 01:40:19
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User Comments

12/24/09 Jeff Wilder Entertaining. But the script is preachy and predictable. 3 stars
5/06/09 DK Better than average, so-so script is helped by fine performances and moments of tension 3 stars
5/03/09 Monday Morning As with most films these days, a lot of TV shows are much better. 3 stars
3/27/08 Piz Kind of a letdown. Lots of potential but just fizzles out. A snoozer by the end. 2 stars
3/08/08 Anthony Feor It offers so much and gives so little 2 stars
3/02/08 Mark One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Horrificly written movie on an epic scale. 1 stars
2/17/08 Dan Bland. I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could, but it's not quite good enough for 3. 2 stars
2/12/08 action movie fab gritty.powerful drama involving cops and gangsters french connection style climax fizzled 4 stars
12/13/07 William Goss Besides a striking car chase, proceedings are thoroughly conventional. 3 stars
12/03/07 jonathan i love it. one of the best films for me 5 stars
10/15/07 Caryl David Excellent film. Edge of your seat suspense. Excellent direction, writing. 5 stars
10/14/07 Jules Fantastic work from Phoenix, several impressive suspenseful scenes and real atmosphere 5 stars
10/13/07 Private Standard crime family drama but with a 70's sensibility. 3 stars
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  12-Oct-2007 (R)



Directed by
  James Gray

Written by
  James Gray

  Joaquin Phoenix
  Mark Wahlberg
  Robert Duvall
  Eva Mendes
  Tony Musante
  Alex Veadov

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