We Own The Night


Directed by: James Gray
Written by:James Gray
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes, Mark Wahlberg,  Robert Duvall, Alex Veadov, Dominic Colon
Released: February 28, 2008
Grade: B

We Own The Night is an American cop drama set in the late 1980s.  It centres on a Bobby Green (Phoenix), a youngish guy who runs a successful nightclub in Brooklyn.  It’s always packed with people and Bobby does whatever he can to make sure they all have a good time.  The owner is impressed with Bobby’s work and together, they’ve agreed to put together a plan to set up another nightclub in Manhattan.

Bobby’s father and brother are New York City police officers.  They are Bert (Duvall) and Joe (Wahlberg).  Bobby has always seen himself as the outsider of the family because unlike his brother Joe, he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps.  He never speaks of them and doesn’t see them very often.  He lives his own independent life by running the nightclub and spending time with his girlfriend, Amada (Mendes).

Bobby is about to connect with his father and brother once again but it’s not by choice.  Bobby’s club has become a haven for drug dealers in the area.  Deals have taken place and the police are interested in a Russian mobster named Vadim Nezhinski (Veadov).  As head of the narcotics division, Joe authorises a raid on the nightclub and takes a bunch of patrons into custody.  It’s not good for the image of the club and Bobby is less than impressed.  He lets his brother know exactly how he feels.

Everything changes though when Joe is shot outside his home.  Bobby learns that Vadim Nezhinski and his compatriots were behind it.  The gravity of the situation starts to sink in.  Bobby realises that these drug dealers are very powerful and that the lives of his family are in jeopardy.  It’s time… to take a side.  Bobby agrees to be an undercover operative to help bust those who are bringing the drugs into New York City.

We Own The Night is a decent film which has been written and directed by James Gray.  Gray’s last film, The Yards, was released back in 2000.  Both films star Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix so I’m guessing they all have an appreciation for each other’s work.

Whilst it’s easily watchable, We Own The Night didn’t have the heightened suspense factor that I was hoping for.   At times, it plays out like a predictable drama where you know exactly what’s going to happen next.  The performances are good but it’s not in the same league as a film like The Departed.  It’s good but nothing too special.