We Own The Night
Directed and Written by James Gray

A Biblical schism, Luke 15:11-32, triangulates the emotional turmoil here also it's a genre trope long encrusted with mold: a grizzled cop and his two sons, one dutiful, the other wayward. But Gray's bigger fish to fry is a specific permutation of high pulp, not a deconstructing really but more a darkening and deepening and a deromanticizing and deglamorizing, too, of the old saws. If he weren't so unprolific, you could cede him proprietorship for the tendency, gone missing, save for spurts, since the 70s. His works are somber, purged bummers- - -Little Odessa, The Yards, moreso this. Here's the drudgery of the working class cop life. Here's the pyrrhic glamor and decadent void of the thug life. Here's both worlds going nowhere as a prodigal son learns what price to pay for waking up on the side of the angels. And in the gray jungle snarl, all the fight you’ve got going for you is love, but even that can turn as fragile as a heart of glass. Not too many American cop pieces of recent vintage are as fiercely tinged with quotidian weariness as this, are as surrendered to its desolate futility, are as a bitch to shake off. Not The Departed, no, which it's kindred with, which it never gets as quasimythic as, which it beats. The Glass Shield, maybe? And that was, what, 1994? TV seems rife with it- - -David Simon's incessantly brilliant The Wire pops to mind ,as it should. But these tackled more the sociologies of the cop/criminal coin so similarities finish with tone and fierce thesping. We Own the Night may derive its evocative title from an 80s NYPD slogan,and is not above a spectacular rainswept car chase that blows the wheels off every car chase we've seen since possibly when Friedkin did it, but is really less about the vicissitudes of the job than it is about the vicissitudes of family. The inexorable, sometimes merciless hold blood has on us. 


Noel Vera said...

I'd count We Own's chase to be superior to French. The earlier one stil lhad the whiff of a roller coaster ride, a gee whiz sensation; We Own's has that slow motion sense of a car going inexorably off a wet road. Good stuff, X.

dodo dayao said...

I agree,Noel. Friedkin's was classic old school. This had an added layer of dread. You felt more helpless. Loved that quick cut where you see a gunshot in Duvall's car.

Noel Vera said...

And what's mindblowing is that, you know how you can't imagine them filming those stunts at that speed, in that rain? They didn't. They filmed it in normal weather, and added the rain.

Now that's mindblowing CGI effects.

dodo dayao said...

Yeah, I saw Joaquin Phoenix on Conan talk about the CGI rain. And I must admit, half the time I was worried about those cars skidding off the wet road driving that fast. That's how you deploy a visual effect,really
. . . hiding it in plain sight and not calling attention to itself.

chard bolisay said...

OT: Astig ng bagong template at header! Hehe ayus. Bagay.

dodo dayao said...

Salamat, chard. Nagaalburoto ang headers/templates ng blogger recently, dami na nagrereklamo so medyo nagimprovise na lang ako for now. Ayos naman. Hehe.