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We Own the Night (2007)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 146
Fresh: 83 | Rotten: 63

Bland characters, clichéd dialogue and rickety plotting ensure We Own The Night never lives up to its potential.


Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 39
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 15

Bland characters, clichéd dialogue and rickety plotting ensure We Own The Night never lives up to its potential.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 263,834

My Rating

Movie Info

At the height of a bloody 1980s struggle between New York City police and a Russian mob that targeted law officers and their families, the NYPD hung "We Own the Night" banners in precinct houses and stepped up their efforts.


Drama, Action & Adventure

James Gray

Feb 13, 2008


Sony/Columbia - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (147) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (63) | DVD (16)

An intriguing blend of mainstream audience-pleaser and a more subtle, even intellectual agenda.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not surprising, but it's engaging enough that most patrons will likely cut the director some slack for the out-of-period details and convoluted plot contrivances that make the film seem at once sloppy and too neat.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Gray's] feel for dialogue has rarely failed him, and it doesn't here.

January 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A desperate violence and urgency spills out in the film's flash-point set-pieces - not least a sensational car chase, shot through a windscreen, hammering rain and a blur of fear.

December 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This one hangs on the notion of fate, and once you've figured out whose fate is the central issue, the outcome -- even with those clumsy plot twists -- is fairly predictable.

October 20, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As flat-footed as writer-director James Gray's script often sounds, his cops-vs.-mob tale can be strangely mesmerizing.

October 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director-writer James Gray makes it all seem more urgent than it has any right to feel, because he knows how to make tense, violent dramas that are soaking in mood.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source:

This is a man's movie: gritty, macho, and lacking in grace.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

If We Own the Night is flawed and somewhat choppy, it served notice that Gray, once he refined his technique, would be a force to be reckoned with in the cinema world.

December 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Gray assumes rather than dramatizes the depths of his characters, scanning for gravitas where there are only rickety clichés

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A generic thriller that aims for deeper resonance, We Own The Night is an intriguing feature, undermined by a plot that stretches credulity, yet which still manages to conform to predictable gangster flick cliché.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Future Movies UK

Although We Own the Night is never as suspenseful as it wants to be and can be a little formulaic, it never comes close to being boring, and that's something you can't say too often about movies these days.

July 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Watertown Daily Times
Watertown Daily Times

(We Own the Night) was terribly written and just such a waste of great actors.

May 24, 2008 Full Review Source: WJFK-FM (CBS Radio) | Comments (3)

The pace may be a shade plodding at times, and the dialogue frequently does disservice to the subject matter. Yet the performances lift it out of the rut...

April 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Lovers of good straightforward thrillers should find plenty to enjoy here.

March 19, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

It's a roller coaster, mainly because a good scene is typically followed by a bad one. For every thrill, there is a melodramatic moment that just doesn't work.

March 4, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

The drama gains momentum in the second half, so the film gets better, but it's never too far from cliche.

February 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

These are some of the finest actors in America, so it's no surprise that they deliver the goods and create solid, complex and accessible characters we can understand.

February 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

We Own the Night declaws the organized crime genre.

February 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Times
Washington Times

Eva Mendes seems to basically be around just to work hard feeding her man Joaquin's erotic fantasies for some relaxation on his down time, in this grim, meandering excursion through Brooklyn's mean streets.

February 2, 2008 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

Traz vários bons momentos que o transformam em um exemplar de gênero acima da média, a começar por alguns excelentes diálogos.

January 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

haraktires poy tha mporoysan aneta na perasoyn arketo hrono akoma se skoteina syrtaria, mpas kai mporesoyn na skoteiniasoyn arketa oi idioi gia na metamorfothoyn se kati esto endiaferon an ohi diaforetiko

January 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

You probably won't hate it, but that's because you probably won't feel much of anything about it

December 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Audience Reviews for We Own the Night

We Own The Night" isn't what I thought it would be at first - another undercover cop movie. It's a pretty unique crime/drama with emphasis on the drama that depicts the aftermath of a police operation gone wrong. Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg play two brothers whose lives have taken different turns, but who are brought back together when the Russian Mafia threatens to destroy their family.

Writer/director James Gray's movie is a tense and gripping affair. The characters are shaped well and embodied perfectly by the actors (although Mark Wahlberg is really just playing the quiet, aggressive guy that he's always playing once more). There's a pretty exciting car chase in there and a bugging operation that will make you cringe with fear for the main character.

That said, the movie isn't without its flaws. The first half drags on a bit, then it all goes too fast. Joaquin Phoenix' character becomes a policeman literally overnight and suddenly there's a concluding showdown, which comes out of nowhere and ends with a pretty unspectacular shootout. On top of that, most of the movie plays like a sequence of short episodes rather than one continuous story. Phoenix' character is too much in the focus of the story and the characters played by Eva Mendes and Mark Wahlberg just kind of enter and leave the plot without having too much of an impact on anything.

Make no mistake, though, this is one of the best gangster movies of 2007 (just after "Eastern Promises" and way ahead of "American Gangster"), although it is much closer in atmosphere to David Fincher's character-driven "Zodiac". And Joaquin Phoenix is so good, he was robbed of an Academy Awards nomination. 10-25-13 5 stars
October 31, 2013
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Pretty good drama, We Own The Night is supported by a good cast and has a very good story. However I was bit let down. The acting was great, the performance by the three lead actors were just wonderful. However I felt that towards the end of the film, director James Gray rushed to try and conclude his film. The film started swell, and despite the fact that lacks a bit near the end, it's still a film worth watching. I very much enjoyed the plot of this film, and it had the right amount of drama, and sometimes action. I just feel that more effort could have been put into the ending. Other than that, this is a good film with a good plot, and great performances. This is a film worth watching and the cast make this film worth seeing. Although it's flawed near the end, the film has a very good first half. There's plenty to enjoy here, and the film succeeds at being a compelling drama about a family separated by law and crime. What really stood out in this film was Joaquin Phoenix's performance as Bobby Green a night club manager whose father and brother are cops. The thing that stood was how he ultimately made the choice of going to honest route once his life was threatened. The chemistry between Robert Duvall, Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix is the standout of this film, and more than makes up for the rushed ending. This is a very good film, but one that also could have been much better.
August 11, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Entertaining enough but ultimately it's forgettable due to the fact it's a 'seen it all before' movie. It's not the worst of its kind by any stretch, it's just pretty underwhelming but it is directed very well with a good cast. James Gray is no Scorsese or Coppola yet but maybe in time...
December 13, 2011

Super Reviewer

Strangely polarizing film, among my friends, but I really liked this one. The acting is very good, and the story is searing, straight-forward good-brother/bad-brother stuff. Robert Duvall's turn as the brothers' father was excellent, and, (as he proves every year, now, it seems), Mark Wahlberg was born to play cops. The film wobbles as it approaches the end: some scenes are flabby, or unnecessary, or just too slow, and the climactic final shootout is a little bizarre. And yet, the whole thing was quite artful, walking the line between popcorn and noir. Stylistically wonderful, and generally a tense film, it sucks you in and your attention is rewarded. Gripping, entertaining film.
October 17, 2011

Super Reviewer

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