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|Run All Night|
dir Jaume Collet-Serra
scr Brad Ingelsby
prd Roy Lee, Michael Tadross, Brooklyn Weaver
with Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D'Onofrio, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Common, Beau Knapp, Daniel Stewart Sherman, James Martinez, Aubrey Joseph
release US/UK 13.Mar.15
A father-son night out: Neeson and Kinnaman
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
A strong script lends this action thriller some proper heft, digging into the central characters' deepest personal regrets to add meaningful subtext to the otherwise implausible action. More than in his other genre movies, this film plays to Neeson's age, pitting him against an equally creaky Harris to offer a nice comment on how society's view of loyalty and justice is shifting.
Wheezy lifelong criminal Jimmy (Neeson) still keeps in touch with his successful friend Shawn (Harris), who turned his mob operation legit. But Shawn's trigger-happy, drug-snorting son Danny (Holbrook) has made a bad deal with Albanians that has inadvertently engulfed Jimmy's son Mike (Kinnaman), who is determined to be nothing like his father. Suddenly Mike's wife (Rodriguez) and kids are at risk, and Jimmy comes to help get them out of harm's way. Not only does all of this alert his old nemesis detective (D'Onofrio), but it puts him at odds with Shawn.
Audience members who can accept that the plot hinges on a massive coincidence (and several smaller ones) will probably accept that the central character can barely stand up in the opening scenes but is soon able to do outrageous stunts while firing a gun, then only has a slight limp after injuries that would send a mere mortal to the hospital. Neeson almost makes this believable, mainly because we've seen him do this he-man stuff so many times that we chalk it up to an adrenaline rush.
Thankfully, the chemistry between Neeson and Harris gives the film a real kick, as their quiet scenes together carry some genuine emotional weight. And the abrasive interaction between Neeson and Kinnaman also adds texture and interest. By comparison, the fights and chases are earthy and rough, but never very interesting because it's clear from the movie's opening shot where it has to go for the big climax. So even the introduction of a ruthless assassin (Common) is never more than an obvious red herring.
In other words, without Neeson and Harris contemplating how the changing world has left them without a moral code or loved ones to rely on, this is little more than yet another predictable and brutal thriller. Any surprises the film carries are in the personal interaction, and they make it worth a look. Especially since there's a bittersweet edge that avoids the grandstanding "I'll kill you all!" bravado these kinds of movies usually use to appeal to our lower instincts.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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