Movie Review: ‘Run All Night’


Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Vincent D’Onofrio, Common

Plot: Jimmy ‘The Gravedigger’ Conlon was a hitman for the Irish mob, now a drunk with an estranged son. When his son inadvertently crosses paths with Jimmy’s  bosses son a conflict ignites that begins a night of violence and survival. 

Review: So we enter the latest instalment of the ongoing film series ‘Liam Neeson Fucks Shit Up’. I’m still trying to adjust to Neeson being a modern Charles Bronson rather than the go-to Oscar guy for big emotional drama. Strangely fitting for Saint Paddy’s day, this one features Neeson murdering the heckfire out of Irish mobsters.

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He even kills people on his smoke break.

So here’s the set up, which effectively paints the morality of the players in shades of grey as opposed to the Taken black and white approach. Jimmy lives in the bottom of the bottle, sleeping it off in the bar and ‘borrowing’ money from friends to make ends meet. His son Michael (Kinnaman) wants nothing to do with him, having started a family of his own and playing it straight mentoring young boxers and driving a limo. Jimmy’s best friend and former boss is Sean (Harris) is a prominent figure in crime leading a life of luxury and supporting Jimmy, while his son Danny is trying to make his mark but is a wildcard. When Michael witnesses Danny committing murder, Danny’s attempt to quiet him leads to disaster. Sean winds up looking silence Michael, with Jimmy taking a scorched Earth policy to protect his family.

It takes a little while to get all the pieces into place, but once the action heats up it maintains a good pace until the end. Director Collet-Serra knows when to stretch out the tension and when to kick up the action, so the movie never feels boring. It a market of saturated CGI explosions it’s good to see some people are still getting down and dirty with realistic and impactful violence. The story doesn’t have many twists or big surprises, rather it sets up the pins and knocks them down.

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The only stylistic quibble in the big CGI tracking shots from one location to the next. They look like the technique favoured by David Fincher during the late 90s and whilst they add some flavour they feel dated and don’t help the flow of the movie.

Neeson is supported by a stronger cast than usual. Harris is a solid foil, creating a good relationship between the characters where we don’t especially want to see either of them succeed. We feel their loss but don’t support their violent ends. D’Onofrio isn’t given as much screen time as the character could have had as the detective wanting to take down The Gravedigger. Kinnaman is good as Neeson’s son, selling the desperate family man and still doing penance for the Robocop remake. Finally there’s Common, a stand out as a super slick hitman dispatched to take out Jimmy and Michael. He’s downright scary.

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With themes of loyalty, family and redemption there’s nothing new on sale in Run All Night (not a big fan of that title either). But if you’re enjoying the ass-kicking phase of Neeson’s acting career then this is a worthwhile use of your time.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN

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