Netflix UK film review: The Night Comes for Us
Bianca Garner | On 27, Aug 2020
Director: Timo Tjahjanto
Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Julie Estelle
Watch The Night Comes for Us online in the UK: Netflix UK
It’s hard to find the words to describe the violent action scenes in Indonesian action flick The Night Comes for Us. A few spring to mind: gory, relentless, extreme, brutal, gut-churning. The Night Comes for Us is one of those films that need to come with a health warning: Do not eat 2 hours prior to consuming this film. If you’re even the slightest bit squearism then you will definitely want to give this film a miss as there really is a lot of blood, brains and decapitated body parts on display. However, if you love your action on the extreme side, this is an absolute must-see and you will not be left disappointed.
The film follows Triad member Ito played by Joe Taslim (The Raid), who saves a young girl, Reina (Asha Kenyeri Bermudez), from his hit squad, who were hired to kill every member of a small fishing village to set an example. Having gunned down his own men and escaped with the girl, Ito finds himself targeted by the triad’s top killers, including his fellow The Raid star Iko Uwais as old childhood friend Arian, Julie Estelle as a motorcycle-riding assassin, and a pair of lesbian hit-women: Elena (Hannah Al Rashid), armed with a kukri knife, and Alma (Dian Sastrowardoyo), wielding a whirling wire weapon.
Ito isn’t alone; he’s aided by his loyal friends Bobby (Zack Lee), Fatih (Abimana Aryasatya) and Wisnu (Dimas Anggara), and the four of them battle to protect Reina. For the two-hour runtime we are subjected to all sorts of violent delights, including every limb imaginable being chopped off, every weapon that you can think of being used and some terrifically over-the-top fight scenes. The characters barely stop to catch their breath before the next action sequence plays out.
At times it can get exhausting just simply watching these beautifully choreographed moments play out. The stunt work is by far some of the most impressive ever to be committed to the big screen.
The film is impressively shot by cinematographer Gunnar Nimpuno who is perhaps the best DoP currently working in the Indonesian film industry. It looks slick and stylish, positively pulsing with vibrance and colour. Accompanied by Arifin Cu’unk’s rapid editing and a score by Aria Prayogi and Fakar Yuskemal, The Night Comes for Us is something unlike anything else Hollywood or the rest of the world is churning out. It’s not often that we see an action film presented in such a grand, beautiful way nowadays; director Timo Tjahjanto certainly shows us how it should be done.
Where the film flounders slightly is the fact that the viewer almost becomes numb to the violence being portrayed. At first, the violence is brutally shocking but after a while, it all becomes a blur as certain fight scenes seem to drag on needlessly. The violence often feels a little bit too cartoonish and deliberately exaggerated, so it doesn’t impact you like it did before.
(If you’re able to stand the first gory fight in which a glass wine bottle is shoved into someone’s mouth, then you’ll be able to withstand anything else the filmmakers throw at you.)
The biggest issue, though, is the lack of any real character development and the rather basic and formulaic plot (we’ve seen this tale of redemption a thousand times before). But are we really here for the story? All of the actors deliver great performances, even if their characters are a little stereotypical. Taslim and Uwais both have fantastic screen presence, and the supporting cast deliver fairly decent performances. The film isn’t exactly heavy on dialogue, and at times it feels like it’s been copied and pasted from the graphic novel on which it’s based.
At the end of the day, The Night Comes for Us isn’t exactly a film that you can recommend to everyone, but if your stomach can handle it, it’s certainly worth seeking out.
The Night Comes for Us is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.