Run All Night (15) Close-Up Film Review
Dir. Juame Collet-Serra, US, 2015, 115 mins
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman
The film opens with a scene that lets you know how the film is going to end and the surprises stop there. Run All Night is the story of washed-up mob hitman Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) and his estranged son (aren’t they always) Michael (Kinnaman), who are forced on the run by Mob boss Shawn Maguire (Harris) after Jimmy kills Maguire’s wayward son, in order to stop him eliminating his own son (who of course lives by a strict moral code to avoid becoming like his dad). The father and son are forced to ‘Run All Night’, though quite why Neeson’s Jimmy seems to think it will be ok in the morning is a bit of a mystery. Logic is not the film’s strongest asset.
Neeson gives us another alcoholic, ex something who is as calm and stoic as ever in the face of adversity, more akin to his Matt Scudder (A Walk Among the Tombstones) than Bryan Mills (Taken), to a point that is. Neeson surely can’t do much more of this. Harris provides some menace as mob boss Maguire but he is not as good here as he was in A History of Violence in a similar role. Midway through the film the two share a Heat like scene in a restaurant, but the fire fails to spark, let down like the rest of the film by a weak script by Out of the Furnace writer Brad Ingelsby. Kinnaman again, like his Alex Murphy, is rather dull and lacking charisma. He really needs to rediscover his inner Holder to deliver on his Killing and Easy Money promise. Perhaps his turn as Rick Flagg in David Ayer’s upcoming Suicide Squad will do the trick. Solid support comes from Vincent D’Onofrio as the cop on the Conlons’ tail and in one scene Nick Nolte as Eddie Conlon. Boyd Holbrook manages to make an impression as Harris’ son Danny whose behaviour kicks things into gear, but his influence and screentime are sadly short-lived.
Collet-Serra provides one or two directorial flourishes especially when showing us the geography of the city. There are a few exciting set pieces including a car chase and a thrilling raid on a housing project is the film’s standout (though again it makes little sense that the characters end up there), that is until Common shows up from an entirely different film to ruin things (in fact wasn’t Common in Terminator Salvation?).
It’s refreshing to see some non 12a rated violence, but the film can’t seem to decide if it is a gritty urban thriller or a glossy action flick and ends up falling somewhere in between. Run All Night is entirely watchable for the most part, but offers very few surprises. Like its ageing anti-hero, the film is functional rather than dynamic.
Review by Antony Palmer