Director James Gray, Mark Wahlberg, and Joaquin Phoenix reunite after 2000’s The Yards for We Own the Night. Brilliant performances from all involved elevate this crime drama above the norm and make this a must see. A few mistakes, including some unneeded humor, drop this from classic status, but the film is powerful and effective regardless.
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This is a thoroughly disappointing Blu-ray effort. Soft, murky, and lacking detail, the transfer is a mess. The black levels waver from time to time, and flesh tones are all over the place. Noise and grain are prevalent. Smoke used during the finale simply destroys this transfer in the final frames, affecting color, grain, and compression. A few minor scenes of note do rise above mediocrity, but these comprise only a minor piece of the overall film.
Audio is also flat. The fantastic car chase that highlights the movie's action is devoid of any special surround activity even though it takes place in a massive rain storm. Scenes in the club do a decent job of creating atmosphere, and the finale is notable for fun sounds of tall grass being pushed around. Earlier scenes have non-existent bass when guns are shot, and the surrounds remain silent as well.
Extras, like everything else on this disc besides the movie, are lackluster. A commentary with James Gray is insightful if not generic. All the extras are in HD, and ironically, provide far better video quality than the main feature. Tension – Creating We Own the Night is standard DVD making-of material for 15 minutes. Police Action focuses on how the major action scenes were done for 10 minutes. A Moment in Crime is the last piece before some trailers finish off the disc, and spends nine minutes discussing how the film was set in the ‘80s.
The film began life at Warner Bros. This was followed by an acquisition by Universal. Finally, Sony gained a hold on it for $11 million where the rights have stayed. That’s not a bad deal for a film that made $27 million at the box office.