Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Film Review: Run all Night (2014)

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Judging by his recent films, the director Jaume Collet-Serra really digs funky camera tricks and hiring Liam Neeson as that washed-out guy who suddenly has to save the day. Run all Night film fits into this category, just like last year’s Non-Stop did. Once again, Neeson settles into the role of a guy who likes to drink and just wants to gradually and quietly kill himself via autodestructing when cruel faith decides to draft him into a noble cause.

This time, he assumes the role of Jimmy Conlon, a former organized crime hit man who must save his son from both the Irish mob and the local police during a single night that will either kill them or result in redemption. Neeson slides into Conlon like a coin into a 30-year-old pay phone, but there is a serious lack of any substance that plagues this film from the beginning to the end.

Collet-Serra focused on the visual, making run all Night film dense with virtual camera transitions which show what occurring to different characters in different parts of the town. He also obviously enjoyed making the chase segments of the film, but the glue that should bind them is sorely lacking. For a film that has Ed Harris, Vincent D'Onofrio and even a few minutes of Nick Nolte, it completely fails to do anything meaningful with its characters. The segment with Nolte, where Conlon remembers his old crime (which is totally irrelevant to the audience to be shown as a flashback) clearly testifies that Collet-Serra did not have a clue how to unravel the narrative so that the audience gets a real grip of the people in it.

Rotating the camera and adding laser sights to bad guys, on the other hand, is something with which Collet-Serra is completely comfortable. For me, run all Night film would have much more sense if it was something similar to an all-out action film like The Equalizer (which is far from perfect, but at least it is true to its visual form), instead of going for that thick layer of life associated with the old school organized crime in the eastern US. Recently, A Most Violent Year showed how this can be done so that it encompasses both a thriller element and the overall feel of a hard drama.

Run all Night film on the other hand, did not turn out to be an interesting action piece, while it also definitely did not turn out to be a gripping crime film.


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