Run All Night - This Movie Just About Rocks, Despite Itself
Starring Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent D'Onofrio, Common
It’s impossible now to watch Liam Neeson pick up a phone in a movie. You just expect him to threaten people and tell them about his unique set of skills. In Run All Night he confronts Ed Harris and tells him he has just been forced to kill Harris’s son – by phone. But thankfully the two of them are so on their game in this thriller that it works.
There’s a lot to admire and enjoy in Collet-Serra’s latest. He evokes a strong neo-noir sense for the most part and has a good feel for the Irish-American gangster world (even if the Fairytale of New York does play its first verse twice towards the end.) Neeson, who can more or less take the credit for the geriaction genre that has arisen since Taken (the good one) and also run it into the ground with Taken 2 & 3 (the shit ones) is back actually acting here. This is not a paycheck performance but one of nuance and character. He is ably met by a standout Harris and a decent turn from the ever interesting Kinnaman.
It’s a shame then that Collet-Serra doesn’t stand his ground with what is basically a strong character led, sins of the father thriller. Instead he stops occasionally to throw in moments that at best can be termed generic, at worst detrimental – a pointless and exceedingly dull cop car chase, for example. And then there’s Common. The rapper-actor literally wanders in from another movie – he’s an ultra elite, unstoppable hitman with a night vision eye and a relentless desire to finish the job. He’s the Terminator basically and simply doesn’t play in an Irish-American mob milieu.
Which is s shame, because there’s a lot to like here.
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