A Few Notes on We Own the Night

My original (and unenthusiastic) review for We Own the Night can be found here. But seeing James Gray’s cop thriller again, I feel it’s better than originally thought and worth discussing a bit more. During my initial theatrical viewing, the film came across as dynamically stylish and light on character, extremely watchable and engaging but disappointing in the end due to its reliance on silly plot devices. The second time around, Gray’s construction of tragedy really hit home for me. The rapport between Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg’s conflicted brothers caught on separate sides of the law became more authentic and palpable beyond genre convention. Their respective dramatic compromises, both played out significantly in the final scene, resonate greatly with Gray’s motif of familial sacrifice. While I still reserve the right to roll my eyes during a number of outlandishly implausible scenes in We Own the Night, it’s a work filled with interesting moments of tension dependent on performance and genre. 

 

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