Netflix UK film review: Run All Night
Chris Bryant | On 16, Aug 2015
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris
Watch Run All Night online in the UK: Netflix UK Apple TV (iTunes) / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Virgin Movies / EE / TalkTalk / Eircom / Google Play
Run All Night appears to be another in a line of films Liam Neeson is carving out a niche in, all operating under the same formula: a loving, but firm, family man ends up in an unfortunate situation and breaks out a particular set of skills to escape and/or take revenge.
The difference here is that it’s made clear that Neeson was once dangerous from the offset. Now, 10 – maybe 20 – years later, his character Jimmy “The Grave Digger” Conlon has turned to alcohol and reclusion to escape his past. Barely conscious most days, he has little to keep him going at all, until his son witnesses a murder performed by the child of Neeson’s ex-boss and friend, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris).
Sacrificing everything to protect his son, Conlon is forced to find out whether, deep down, The Grave Digger can still get the job done.
The movie co-stars Joel Kinnamon (Robocop) as Mike, Jimmy’s son, a local boxing talent who takes limo-driving jobs to support his family, Common (Smokin’ Aces) as a rival hit man desperate to have a shot at the legend; and Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil) as Detective Harding, a local cop who’s been after Jimmy so long they’ve developed a dour rapport. With a cast as high-quality as this, Run All Night also manages to bravely keep the unnecessary dialogue to a minimum. The cast perfect their steely poker-faces, reload and get on with it. No catchphrases, no gimmicks and no reliance on CGI.
Liam Neeson is making a name for himself playing these Bryan Mills-esquecharacters, but Run All Night’s neo-noir action pulls together just enough interest and humanity to keep it relevant and exciting. Neeson suffices as the ex-assassin, his raspy tones and distant glare bringing to life the idea that he’s seen and done some brutal things – regret-filled advice and warnings abound. This side of Jimmy is balanced brilliantly by Ed Harris’ gangster; friendly, human and understanding, the two converse about their current war in a respectful and honourable way. They are honest, but rarely threatening to one another. Their back-and-forth builds the walls of the world that Run All Night exists in. Though not uncommon, the world of dirty cops and rainy nights is presented well, the layer of family feuds ensuring that the unoriginal setting isn’t relied upon too heavily. Coupled with whispered, purposeful dialogue and short, tense action sequences, the film stays afloat with a no-nonsense attitude. Never over the top, never showy, Run All Night is a tough, gritty number, as well-cast as they come.
Run All Night is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.