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Posts Tagged ‘Joaquin Phoenix’


We Own the Night takes place in drug plagued late 80’s New York City.  It is the story of a father and his two sons.  To say there are dad issues in this movie is quite the understatement.  I was reminded of the story of the Prodigal Son(s).  Joaquin Phoenix plays Bobby, the son of the Police Chief (played by Robert Duvall) who takes the last name of his late mother.  He avoids the Police Department and ends up running a night club.  He also avoids his family since he is a big disappointment to his father.  He finds a substitute in the club owner, a Russian who imports fur.  He is like family to the Russian and his family.  The man’s wife tries to fatten him up and treats him like the son she never had.

Mark Wahlberg plays the obedient, trusted son Joseph.  He joined the Police Department and has risen to the rank of Captain.  He is angry at his brother for leaving home and the family business.  Bobby is angry at him for messing up the good thing he thinks he has going, and the condemnation he feels.

Tensions heighten because Joe is the head of the new drug task force.  He and his father inform Bobby that the owner’s nephew is a Russian mobster dealing drugs out of the club.  Soon Bobby will have to choose between his real family and the family he thinks he loves- the one that tolerates and supports his very indulgent lifestyle.

What emerges is an average cop drama with a fantastic performance by Joaquin.  Not all that happens makes sense, particularly during the car chase.  The ending seems a bit under-whelming as well.  The most interesting aspect of the movie was the family relationships as Bobby comes home seeking redemption.  Like Jesus’ story of the Prodigal, the ‘stay-at-home’ brother resents the welcome home the licentious brother receives.  Only time reveals Joseph’s true motivations for the “righteous” life he led.  Funny how we just can’t escape Christ’s teaching, no matter how hard we try.

The movie starts off with more Eva Mendes than I needed to see, and some topless dancers.  After about 5 minutes the nudity is done.  Being a crime drama, there is plenty of bad language.  Though there is plenty of action, it is not graphic- except for a fight in an apartment.

Unfortunately this movie has had much better competition in this genre (American Gangster, The Departed).  We Own the Night doesn’t own the genre, but makes a respectable showing.

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