Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.
“Run All Night” is that unique caliber of movie where all of its components are aligned perfectly with each other, both in front of and behind the camera. Liam Neeson has carved out a niche for himself in the action genre, thanks to his role as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills in “Taken,” where he travels to Europe to track down his daughter’s kidnappers and exact revenge on them. The sequels were less than stellar but still enjoyable nonetheless. With “Run All Night,” Mr. Neeson creates a memorable down-on-his-luck character, Jimmy Conlon, who hangs out in the bar of longtime friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). A constant drunk and deadbeat, he has all but been disowned by his friends and his own son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) and his family.
Having spent most of his life as a mobster and hit man for Sean, killing whomever he was ordered to with no qualms whatsoever, the guilt of all the lives he took are now catching up with him and haunting him incessantly. When his estranged son Mike, a limo driver, unknowingly picks up two Albanian drug lords and drops them off at a house which belongs to Sean’s son Danny (Boyd Holbrook), a young hothead who thinks he knows it all, things quickly go awry and Danny kills both of them, one in his front yard where Mike witnesses everything and then speeds off. Panicked, Danny calls his dad and tells him what happened and Sean, in turn, calls Jimmy who proceeds to make his way over to Mike’s house, to tell him to keep his mouth shut about what he saw.
While Jimmy and Mike are talking, Danny turns up unexpectedly, with the intent of killing Mike but before he has a chance to do so, Jimmy shoots him dead. He calmly calls Sean and tells him what happened, at which point Sean informs him that he will kill Mike and his family in retaliation. When Jimmy tells him that he will do absolutely everything he can to to prevent that from happening, the stage is set for a climactic showdown between two best friends whose loyalties up to now, have been to each other. Director Jaume Collet-Serra, who directed Mr. Neeson in “Unknown” and “Non-Stop,” here creates an old-fashioned, dark and gritty thriller about the oldest motivator known to mankind.
Unlike Mr. Neeson’s previous action movies, “Run All Night” has more in common with the thrillers of the 60s and 70s, films like “Bullitt” and “The French Connection,” where story exposition and character development are first and foremost but when the action does arrive, it is handled with expert precision by director Jaume Collet-Serra and cinematographer Martin Ruhe who know exactly how to stage and choreograph action scenes and the first car chase in the movie was one of the most exciting I have seen in a long time. John Frankenheimer would be proud! Characters do what they need to do in order to survive and when Jimmy tells his estranged son that he must trust in him and listen to him for one night, we know that Mike will be safe.
Ed Harris is that rare breed of actor who can portray both good guys and bad guys equally as convincing and here, he shares a few scenes with Mr. Neeson and the chemistry between them is electrifying. You really do believe that these two men have been friends since they were young and have grown up together, always watching each others backs, always telling each other that when it’s time for one of them to go, they’ll both go together but halfway through the movie, with Jimmy’s son and his family having been attacked by Sean’s men, he stands outside Sean’s bar with a gun in his hand, calls him and proceeds to tell him that it’s time. When Sean looks out the window and sees him, he knows that he’ll be making that journey alone. Very Highly Recommended!
In theaters March 13th
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