Monday, August 11, 2008


Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall, Eva Mendes

"Two brothers on opposite sides of the law.
Beyond their differences lies loyalty"

A small movie that didn't cause much ripple in the waves of films churned out by Hollywood. Too bad because you would have missed out on watching a talented ensemble cast essaying a somewhat credible plot. The film is inspired by the motto ("We own the night") of the New York City police force. It is set in the late 80s when law enforcers battled the sudden influx of narcotics perpetrated by the Russians. A story of two brothers with opposite priorities in their respective lives. It made for an interesting character study of two contrasting individuals. Both driven by filial piety and lofty yet ambitious ideals of what makes the world a better place.

Both Wahlberg and Phoenix are good actors but clearly in this film, Joaquin Phoenix had the meatier role. He played it out effortlessly. Being a method actor, you have the tendency to believe that he is too serious when he acts but it makes for a good solid performance so I guess I shouldn't complain, huh? Interesting enough, things pick up after Mark Wahlberg's character suffers a setback so most of the film is carried on Joaquin Phoenix's broad shoulders. He lived up to the task. Eva Mendes had a significant but very brief role. I was always waiting for her character to be more 'involved' in the whole scheme of things. Robert Duvall is forceful in a non bearing way in any role and he doesn't disappoint in this film.

The plot/story line moves at a steady pace. Things pick up after a crisis occurs with thrilling and suspenseful scenes. Then it aptly settles down to a feel good, happy moment ending. It was filmed mostly in dark and bleak (it was always raining) environments but it was added to the overall gloomy atmosphere of the script. It focused on the internal conflict between the brothers. Their struggle to constantly live up to the expectations of their father as well as society in general.

For a movie that runs for 117 minutes, it wasn't dragging to watch. I guess that is mostly due to the presence of Joaquin Phoenix in every scene. Enough said.

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