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Mar 10 15 1:40 PM
Joel Kinnaman wants you to know that he doesn’t get “taken” in this week’s new release co-starring Liam Neeson, Run All Night. Of course, it’s the Liam Neeson aspect of this equation that has people asking Kinnaman things like, “Oh, instead of his daughter, now it’s you that gets taken?,” which has been frustrating for the Swedish-born actor. (I can back Kinnaman up here, he does not get “taken” during Run All Night.)
Kinnaman became known to American audiences with his performance in the Americanized version of The Killing, playing the brooding detective Holder. Kinnaman parlayed his popularity as Holder into supporting roles in movies like David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo and the Denzel Washington vehicle, Safe House.
It was a big leap for Kinnaman to take on the starring role as Alex Murphy in the 2014 RoboCop reboot, a movie that still wound up grossing just under $250 million worldwide, but didn’t leave a huge impression on audiences or critics. Kinnaman looks back on RoboCop now and acknowledges there were mistakes – not being rated R is a big one – but certainly has no regrets.
Next year, he’s part of Warner Bros. and DC’s ambitious superhero slate of movies, co-starring with Will Smith in Suicide Squad, playing Rick Flag, a character that Kinnaman admits he didn’t know before he took the role. (To be fair, Flag isn’t exactly one of the more prominent characters in the DC universe.)
In Run All Night, Kinnaman plays Mike Conlon, a man who finds himself on the run from the mob and the police after witnessing a murder that he’s been framed for committing. Eventually, he accepts help from his estranged retired hitman father (Liam Neeson) as the two are basically now trying to avoid contact with pretty much everyone.
Ahead, Kinnaman reveals that he can do a pretty great Liam Neeson impression, discusses his upcoming role in Suicide Squad, speculates what went wrong with RoboCop, and he doesn’t seem upset in the least that he was cut out of Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. Oh, again, he swears he doesn’t get taken in Run All Night.
When you sign up for a movie with Liam Neeson, do you just assume you’re getting punched at some point?
[Laughs] I mean, I knew right off the bat that it’s a father-son story and that’s what very much drew me to the film. I’ve always gravitated toward father-son stories; I always find them moving and emotional, so I was stoked to play Liam’s son.
Why are you drawn to father-son movies?
Well, I don’t have any friends or any men that I know that haven’t had a complicated relationship to their father at some point in their life… It’s at the core of our emotional being and when we see stories about that, it connects with us.
I was worried Run All Night was going to be like Taken 3, which just came out a couple of months ago. This is not Taken 4.
That’s been a little frustrating talking to people before they’ve seen it, because that’s what everybody kind of expects and it’s like, “Oh, now it’s you instead of the daughter.” And I’m like, “Nah, not quite.”
You do not get taken.
But you are teamed up with Liam Neeson the whole movie, you guys get to run around and wreck havoc.
And I can tell you, it’s a lot of fun being on the run with Liam.
What are you guys talking about between takes?
We talk about everything; he’s actually really funny. And after we became friends, then we started messing with each other and doing little pranks and tripping each other up before scenes. I’d be like, “Okay, old man, don’t get a heart attack now because we have to move on this one.”
I’m guessing he doesn’t like being called “Old man.”
[Laughs] No. That’s why I call him that.
There’s a scene where you’re watching Liam Neeson and Nick Nolte scream at each other…
I embarrassed myself completely.
What did you do?
There’s this scene in which they’re arguing over the kitchen table. And Nick is leaning over and he’s screaming to Liam, “I’m talking to you!” and Liam grabs him by the collar, “And I’m listening!” And my character is supposed to walk out and leave him, and Liam turns and says, “Mike, don’t go.” But every time they were battling in the kitchen, I just stood and watched them. Then when Liam turns around, I’m just standing there looking at him, eating popcorn pretty much. And he’s like, “Joel!” And I’m like, “Oh, shit, sorry!” And then I did that three times in a row.
You could go on a one man tour doing your Nick Nolte and Liam Neeson impressions.
[Laughs] Yeah, I’ll take it on the road.
Last time we spoke was at Comic-Con before the new RoboCop came out. I know you were excited about that. Was it disappointing that it underperformed?
Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s a tricky thing when you do these remakes. Because if you’re going to do a remake, the only reason that you should do a remake is if you have a new idea. Otherwise, if you’re going to do a remake just to sort of do more special effects, than I think it’s a cynical… You know, there’s always going to be a cynical, moneymaking element when doing a remake, it’s got the built-in property and that’s the reason those get made. But, the filmmaker who actually does it has to come from a different place and wants to tell something more. And if you are a filmmaker and you want to do a remake, then you have to have sort of a new idea.
If we move this character to a different time – the 25 years that have passed – what can that tell us about society? And I thought that Jose Padilha had a really interesting vision for that. But, then, at the same time, when doing these kind of comic book, these beloved characters, you also have to be really aware of what about it the fans love so much. And you have to understand that and sort of build your new idea on that.
What we did wrong on RoboCop, we just did something new and didn’t really take into account what the fans really loved about the original. I think that we should have gone and found more humor and more charm in it. And it’s tricky doing a movie like RoboCop at PG-13. Maybe we shouldn’t have changed the suit and we should have done it rated R and do it with a smaller budget – I think people would have given it a much bigger chance. But, with all that said, as a film, I’m really proud of it. I think it’s a really good movie that has really interesting concepts.
You mention being aware of what the fans want, how does that play into what you want to do with Rick Flag in Suicide Squad? He’s not a super known character, so maybe you don’t have to worry about that as much and you can really own it.
Yeah, for sure. And you want the backstory of the character, but I think this is also a universe that David Ayer is going to create – there’s a lot more. Also, when you’re doing the first movie in a comic book, you always have the leeway of you’re going to move it from a comic book to a film and put it in real life – you’re always going to make a lot of changes and create a new universe. So you’re kind of setting a precedent. When you’re remaking a movie that’s already been made and a character that was made for the film, then it becomes a different thing and it’s more difficult to create something new without offending some people.
Were you familiar with the character of Rick Flag before this came up?
I know hardcore comic book fans who don’t know him that well.
I reached out to my guys, like Daniel Espinosa, who did Child 44 and Safe House and Easy Money. He’s a comic book authority; he’s read every Marvel comic since 1982. When he’s with Marvel people, he’s like, “No, that character had his golden age between 1984 and 1986 when so and so wrote that arc.” And even he wasn’t completely sure.
Maybe because he was too busy reading Marvel instead of DC.
Yeah, he’s more a Marvel guy, but he knows the DC stuff, too.
If nothing else, at least you didn’t have to get your hair cut on social media in front of the world.
You filmed scenes for Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, did you know before you saw it if you had been cut out or not? I know with Malick, an actor never knows…
I still haven’t seen it. I don’t think I’m in the movie.
You’re not sorry?
No, no, not so sorry. I didn’t feel too comfortable.
He films in a very different way. He has a very detached way of shooting his films where you don’t feel very involved. I guess some people like it and some people like it less.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
ohvaI have tons of friends. They're just all online.
Mar 10 15 3:03 PM
First review, from Variety, and good.
Chief Film Critic
Someday the mobsters, petty thugs and crooked cops of the world will finally get it through their thick skulls that you should never, ever mess with Liam Neeson’s family — not that audiences have reason to complain in the meantime, so long as they keep getting action pictures as straightforward and robustly satisfying as “Run All Night.” In his third and arguably most effective partnership with director Jaume Collet-Serra (after “Unknown” and “Non-Stop”), the 62-year-old Neeson puts his world-weary killer instincts to good use as an aging Brooklyn hit man trying to protect his estranged son — a twist that pushes this tense, elegantly assembled chase thriller into full-on male-weepie territory, so heavy with sins-of-the-fathers anguish that it almost plays out like a latter-day “Road to Perdition.” Yet Collet-Serra keeps things moving so nimbly that the emotions never turn leaden, suggesting that this Warner Bros. programmer could display some much-needed commercial stamina in a season of box office disappointments.
In less assured hands, movie titles like “Non-Stop” and “Run All Night” might have promised something of a viewer endurance test rather than the efficient, fleet-footed genre exercises that have gratifyingly emerged. After a shaky but intriguing start with 2011’s “Unknown,” Collet-Serra and Neeson have proven themselves to be expert recyclers, devising a series of brawny standalone entertainments delivered with enough smarts and style — not that a whole lot is required, mind — to outclass the actor’s “Taken” franchise. (Last year’s “Non-Stop” even managed to outpace the recent “Taken 3” domestically, earning $92 million Stateside to the latter pic’s $88 million.)
This time around, however, director and star have dispensed with their earlier Hitchcockian wrong-man scenarios. There’s no mistaking Neeson for anything but the right man in “Run All Night” — namely, Jimmy Conlon, an Irish-American mafioso who knows his pursuers all too well and can scarcely begrudge them for wanting to hunt him down. Remarkably, despite the narrative’s compact 16-hour time frame, an entire gangland history manages to come into fleeting focus, as Collet-Serra freights even the most offhand exchanges of dialogue (and gunfire) with a disquieting intimacy that underscores his characters’ shared experience: Whether conceived on a grand scale or in close quarters, the violence always feels personal.
If there’s a weakness in the clean, economical screenplay by Brad Ingelsby (who co-scripted 2013’s “Out of the Furnace”), it’s that Neeson’s character seems perhaps too forlorn a figure at the outset, an impression that doesn’t entirely jive with the keen-witted man of action who emerges later. Once known as “the Gravedigger,” the deadliest arrow in the quiver of respected Brooklyn kingpin Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), Jimmy is now a hopeless hanger-on, stuck nursing a lifetime’s worth of regrets with endless glasses of whiskey, and forced to earn quick cash by performing humiliating favors for Shawn’s son and heir, Danny (Boyd Holbrook). Handsome, spoiled, callow and monstrous, Danny has clearly absorbed the elder Maguire’s ruthlessness but none of his professional scruples or life knowledge. By contrast, Jimmy’s lone son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman), has become a paragon of working-class virtue — a dutiful family man who wants nothing to do with his old man and his life of crime.
With the various intergenerational contrasts and parallels thus established, all the long-simmering tensions suddenly explode one winter evening when Mike, a limo driver in the wrong place at the wrong time, witnesses Danny blowing away an Albanian heroin dealer. (For all its general superiority to the “Taken” movies, “Run All Night” is no improvement in the ethnic sensitivity department.) In short order, Mike is forced to renew ties with the hated Jimmy, his only hope of staying alive and ensuring the safety of his pregnant wife (Genesis Rodriguez) and two daughters (Giulia Cicciari, Carrington Meyer). In one of the script’s shrewder gambits, Jimmy’s instinctive decision to side with his own blood has the immediate effect of severing all ties to his employer, something both sides accept with almost matter-of-fact resignation. Viewers may be reminded of the similarly strict gangland protocols that governed last year’s Keanu Reeves starrer “John Wick,” in which longtime business associates, faced with an unexpected personal betrayal, calmly negotiated the terms under which they would proceed to obliterate each other.
Liberated from the confines of a 767 in “Non-Stop,” Collet-Serra fully embraces his newfound sense of visual freedom, sending the camera whooshing in all directions across the city — a mode of transitioning between scenes that feels a trifle flashy, yet potently conveys the story’s scope. (Brian Heller is credited with the aerial photography.) Although Ingelsby’s script was originally set in his hometown of Philadelphia, “Run All Night” turns out to be one of the more immersive New York-shot genre movies of recent vintage, benefiting from d.p. Martin Ruhe’s moody nocturnal lensing and production designer Sharon Seymour’s richly conceived sets; many of the fictional backdrops used, from Shawn’s Irish-pub HQ to the boxing gym in the Bronx where Mike trains neighborhood kids, draw upon (and sometimes artfully combine) locations in different boroughs.
No less impressive is the film’s integration of the city’s topography and architecture into its most ambitious action sequences, from a palpably tense car chase through the streets of Brooklyn (ultimately ending, in a sly visual shortcut, at a pawn shop in Queens), to a daring escape filmed during the chaotic aftermath of a Rangers-Devils game at Madison Square Garden. Perhaps most daunting of all is a setpiece that covers multiple floors of a burning apartment complex, as the Conlons set out to protect an innocent kid witness (Aubrey Omari Joseph) while dodging a skilled contract killer (Common, a long way from “Selma”). Through it all, whether incorporating parkour moves into a breathless foot chase or staging a climactic three-way manhunt in the foggy wilderness near Putnam, N.Y., Collet-Serra displays a level of crafty professionalism and logistical knowhow worthy of his resourceful protagonists.
With its grim, fatalistic twists and brooding air of patriarchal anxiety — this is a world where sons are doomed to suffer the consequences of their fathers’ mistakes, or repeat them to even more damaging effect — “Run All Night” doesn’t exactly cover new ground. (One narrative digression feels particularly unnecessary in its attempt to crank up Mike’s resentment of Jimmy; mainly, it exists to justify an unbilled cameo from an actor whose presence is welcome but not essential.) Yet even when he’s dealing with this boilerplate material, Collet-Serra brings an understated intensity and a subtle emotional pull to every scene, aided immeasurably by actors who invest their roles, big and small, with just the right degree of conviction.
By now it should come as a surprise to no one that Neeson has become perhaps our most consistently reliable and bankable action hero, and “Run All Night” ably taps into his reserves of grit and gravitas as Jimmy leaps into action, takes down enemy assailants, and above all protects those he loves, even if it means sometimes ramming them off the road. As ever, the actor’s handsome, careworn face seems capable of projecting decency and tenderness as well as cruelty, perfect for the role of a cold-blooded killer we intuitively trust. Jimmy’s interactions with his old friend-turned-nemesis Shawn are among the film’s most affecting moments, not least because Harris is one of the few actors capable of looking utterly dead-eyed while still possessing a certain soulful twinkle. Also leaving strong impressions are Bruce McGill as Shawn’s formidable No. 2 and Vincent D’Onofrio as one of the few honest cops in a city overrun with police corruption.
Kinnaman, who anchored last year’s “RoboCop” reboot, more than holds his own opposite Neeson while revealing a crucial dimension of vulnerability. Although a physically tough specimen himself, Mike is a man for whom violence doesn’t come naturally, and Jimmy is determined to keep it that way, repeatedly intervening so that his son will never know the soul-crushing agony of taking a life, even in self-defense. It’s an overtly moralistic, vaguely Catholic touch, and one that can’t help but ring slightly false in a movie that, like so many of Neeson’s assignments of late, turns the spectacle of mass killing into a job well done.
Film Review: 'Run All Night'
Reviewed at Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, Calif., March 5, 2015. Running time: 114 MIN.
A Warner Bros. release and presentation in association with Ratpac-Dune Entertainment of a Vertigo Entertainment production. Produced by Roy Lee, Brooklyn Weaver, Michael Tadross. Executive producers, Steven Mnuchin, Jaume Collet-Serra, John Powers Middleton.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Screenplay, Brad Ingelsby. Camera (Fotokem color, widescreen), Martin Ruhe; editor, Dirk Westervelt; music, Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL); production designer, Sharon Seymour; art director, Deb Jensen; set decorator, Chryss Hionis; costume designer, Catherine Marie Thomas; sound (Dolby Digital), Michael Barosky; supervising sound editors, Paul Urmson, Wylie Stateman; sound designers, Richard King, Larry Zipf, Dror Mohar; re-recording mixers, Chris Jenkins, Paul Urmson, Michael Barry; special effects supervisor, Jeff Brink; visual effects producer, Mitchell Ferm; visual effects, Method Studios, BUF, Luma Pictures; stunt coordinators, Doug Coleman, Mark Vanselow; associate producer, Raymond Quinlan; assistant director, Julian Wall; second unit director, Doug Coleman; second unit camera, Jack Donnelly; aerial camera, Brian Heller; casting, Cathy Sandrich Gelfond, Amanda Mackey.
Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lois Smith, Common, Beau Knapp, Patricia Kalember, Daniel Stewart Sherman, James Martinez, Rasha Bukvic, Tony Naumovski, Lisa Branch, Holt McCallany, Aubrey Omari Joseph, Giulia Cicciari, Carrington Meyer.
Mar 10 15 3:29 PM
Mar 10 15 3:34 PM
Mar 10 15 3:47 PM
Mar 10 15 5:36 PM
It’s a weird thing when one of the factors about a movie that appeals to you
is that it’s simply not terrible. Basically, you just know from
the trailer or the commercials or some sort of sixth sense that what you’re
about to see is going to be bad. Which isn’t entirely fair, but once that
thought creeps into your subconscious, it’s hard to get it out of there. Well,
that is, until you start watching said movie and begin thinking, Hey, wait a
minute, am I enjoying this? Is this good? I think this might be good. This is
weird, I like this movie!.
This is how I felt while watching the new Liam Neeson thriller, Run All
Jaume Collet-Serra’s directorial debut was 2005’s pretty terrible House of
Wax, which then was best known as the movie that co-starred Paris Hilton in
one of her first major film roles. Hilton promoted this film endlessly, always
teasing the fact that she gets killed as some sort of incentive for people to
see the film. Collet-Serra would fare better with 2009’s Orphan, which
received mixed reviews, but at least had an interesting enough twist ending that
kept it in party conversations.
In 2011, Collet-Serra made his first movie with Liam Neeson, Unknown,
a movie seemingly about the loss of identity that, in the end, had much more to
do with corn than anyone ever expected. 2014’s Non-Stop re-teamed
Collet-Serra and Neeson for a movie that received pretty OK reviews and
grossed an impressive $222 million at the box office. Now, with Run All
Night, it’s safe to say that Jaume Collet-Serra has become Liam Neeson’s go
to non-Taken director.
But Taken is Run All Night’s biggest problem, because Taken
3 just came out two months ago and holds an abysmal 10 percent rating on
Rotten Tomatoes and grossed about $100 million less than its predecessor. People
might not quite be in the mood for what looks like another Taken-style
movie so soon. Oh, there there’s no doubt about it, the third Taken film
is abysmal… but Run All Night is not Taken 3.
When people ask me about this movie, I usually say, “It’s a better
Taken,” but that’s purposefully simplistic. It almost feels like
Collet-Serra and Neeson got together this time and decided, “Hey, what if we try
to make something a little more ambitious?” Now, I wouldn’t necessarily label
Run All Night as ambitious — but, you know, it is kind of
ambitious when you consider what this could have been. It still has the
Taken style “Liam Neeson on a rampage” action, but there feels like
something more this time. There are parts of this movie that really do feel feel
like a gritty crime drama involving veteran actors we like — Neeson, Ed Harris,
and a surprise cameo I wasn’t expecting — as opposed to the dumb action movie
people are expecting.
Neeson plays Jimmy Conlon, an at first seemingly dopey drunk who is relegated
to playing Santa Claus so that he can afford to get his boiler fixed. Jimmy is
estranged from his son, a hard-working limo driver named Mike (Joel Kinnaman),
but the two are reunited after (A) Mike witnesses a mob hit and (B) Jimmy – who
we find out is a former hitman himself – defends his own son by killing the son
of a mob boss who was going to kill Mike. Of course, now that mob boss (Ed
Harris) wants both Jimmy and Mike dead. Complicating things, the police think
Mike committed the original murder and that Jimmy shot a police officer in front
hundreds of witnesses. (Okay, that last part is true, but it was a dirty cop
working for the mob.)
But this isn’t a “Liam Neeson kills everyone in his sight” movie. All he
wants is to get his son out of trouble, which, on the surface, is nice. But,
more importantly, Neeson is acting during this movie and I suspect that
having Kinnaman, Ed Harris, and that cameo by another veteran actor brings out
the best in Neeson.
It’s as if Run All Night desperately wants to be something more than
the stupid Taken sequel that came out in January. Run All Night
isn’t a great movie, but it’s in an honest to goodness good movie that’s
kind of trapped with the unfortunate stink of another franchise that it has
absolutely nothing to do with.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New
York. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
Mar 10 15 5:43 PM
By Drew Taylor | The Playlist
March 10, 2015 at 4:08PM
The "Taken" films might have been responsible for repositioning former serious actor Liam Neeson as an action movie heavyweight, but there has been a far more interesting creative collaboration brewing in that same time span between the actor and frequent collaborator Jaume Collet-Serra. What makes this collaboration so interesting (and, indeed, fun to watch) is the way that Collet-Serra reinforces Neeson's new career path while simultaneously deconstructing it. In "Unknown," he turned the normally heroic Neeson into an amnesiac terrorist, and in "Non-Stop" he crafted an Agatha Christie-like whodunit on an airplane, with Neeson as an unlikely foil: a dirty, disillusioned air marshal. Their latest collaboration is "Run All Night," a film that double-underlines the fact that Collet-Serra knows exactly what to do with Neeson's on-screen persona in what is ultimately their most satisfying film yet.
At the beginning of "Run All Night," Collet-Serra goes out of his way to establish what a fuck-up Neeson's Jimmy Conlon is. He used to be an enforcer for a heavy-hitting New York mob boss named Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), but has fallen on hard times. These days he's a broke drunk, forced to beg for a loan from Shawn's snot-nosed son, Danny (Boyd Holbrook), while estranged from his own son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman), a former boxer and current chauffeur. When Mike accidentally witnesses Danny execute some Eastern European drug dealers, Danny goes to Mike's house to murder him. Jimmy intervenes, kills Danny to save Mike, and the estranged father and son have to go on the run for one very long night, dodging killers and thugs and crooked cops along the way.
Part of what makes "Run All Night" such an exhilarating thrill is the fact that it was actually filmed in New York. Not only does this add some oomph to a number of exciting action set pieces, including a jaw-dropping car chase that tips its hat to "The French Connection" and a sequence set at a high rise tenement building that escalates to a nearly unbearable fervor, but it also gives the movie's smaller, slower beats more gritty authenticity. There are moments when little glimpses of the city flash by: a taxi driver shooting down Broadway or a homeless man going through the garbage looking for plastic bottles. "Run All Night" may exist in a heightened, noir-ish world where a straight arrow detective (Vincent D'Onofrio) slides into a diner booth right next to the mob enforcer he's been hunting for decades, but there is still texture that at least somewhat grounds it in the real world. There's grit underneath its fingernails. Collet-Serra also adds additional stakes by factoring in things like a championship hockey game, which gives context for the night and something that the action can play alongside and interact with. "Run All Night" is smartly constructed, inside and out.
Harris and Neeson's performances do a lot to ground the movie, as well. Early on it's established that these guys came up in the mafia together and have grown apart over the years. But there's still a nearly familial bond there, since they're both bound by secrets and misdeeds. Harris may relish the chance at playing a mobster but his performance is far from over-the-top, and Collet-Serra and screenwriter Brad Ingelsby allow for somber moments that you normally don't see in this kind of big budget genre fare, like a particularly devastating sequence where Harris goes to the morgue to identify his son's body. It's an unexpectedly powerful moment and one that establishes that the movie isn't just out for empty thrills, but something deeper and darker too.
Neeson, for his part, is given the difficult task of conveying just what a disaster his Jimmy Conlon is, but still being able to outwit dozens of goons that are sent after him (the deadliest of which is a fastidious assassin played by Common). Neeson doesn't make the transition easy; he doesn't just tap into a file in his brain and once again become a highly skilled killer. Instead, he gives the impression that he's been in the game so long, and knows the neighborhoods and relationships that govern those neighborhoods so well, that he can slip in and out of dangerous situations and still manage to not get himself or his son killed. It's a tricky part and Neeson handles it with his typical mixture of masculine bravado and understated subtlety.
This is where the sweet spot of the Collet-Serra/Neeson relationship is forged: in the fact that Neeson is presented as a potentially fallible hero, a man who has to build himself up, who has to struggle through demons both internal and external, to reestablish himself and his relationship with his son. He is not the invincible hero that so many lesser filmmakers have tried to make him out to be, and you can tell that Neeson relishes the opportunity to give the character shading and dimension. This is an intentional deconstruction, but one that plays alongside a celebration of what Neeson does best, with countless moments that play up his lumbering physicality, effortless cool, and steadfast moral fortitude. Neeson has such inherent charisma that even when he's a son-of-a-bitch you can't help but love him. What the Collet-Serra collaborations do so well is build up the unpleasantness of the character so well that it takes a while to get at the character's inner goodness. And that's the journey of "Run All Night."
While "Run All Night" might be ten minutes too long (and the score by Junkie XL utterly forgettable), it's still an undeniably hardboiled work of crime fiction. Collet-Serra is an accomplished filmmaker, full of visual bravado to match Neeson's toughness (there are some great moments where the camera zooms through an impossible amount of space, squeezing in through chain link fences or behind doors), and his work with Neeson remains one of the more exciting collaborations in mainstream cinema. "Run All Night" is their best film by a considerable margin, one in which big action set pieces are nicely tempered by smaller emotional beats, and where Neeson's action star role is disassembled before soaring to new heights. [B+]
Mar 10 15 5:59 PM
A little gossip mixed in with movie review. I like that!
These days, Liam Neeson is usually saving/avenging a daughter and shooting a lot of people in the process. In “Run All Night,” this time it’s a son. Gotta mix it up.
The Warner Brothers action thriller “Run All Night” that stars Oscar nominees Neeson (“Schindler’s List,” “Non-Stop”) and Ed Harris (“Pollock,” “The Hours”) had a splashy premiere Monday night at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (“Non-Stop”), the film also co-stars Oscar winner Common (“Selma”) as a hit man and Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing”), as Neeson’s character’s aforementioned son.
But it was tattooed beauty Cleo Wattenstrom, who is Kinnaman’s girlfriend, who was the center of the attention. The Swedish tattoo artist and actress wore a sheer gown that plunged nearly to her waist and was cut very low in the back to display colorful and intricate tattoos that covered nearly every area of exposed flesh.
“Run All Night” doesn’t disappoint as a fast-paced thriller with bone crushing fight scenes, thrilling car chases and characters trying to outrun assassins. The story revolves around two longtime best friends, who have both seen better days. Shawn Maguire (Harris) is Brooklyn mobster trying to retire and Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) is his former hit man, once known as “The Gravedigger,” who now haunted by memories of his past which he tries to drown out with booze. He’s estranged from his son who wants nothing to do with his mobster father. Whatever they pay Neeson he’s worth it; he adds gravitas and intensity to every scene he’s in and makes the familiar storyline work.
Neeson has a worthy actor to face off with in Harris, whose scenes together are the best part of the film, apart from the terrific action scenes, which never let up. You know as soon as he says, “I’m too old for this s…t,” he’s about to demolish a dozen baddies. Neeson’s character pulls himself together to try to save his son, who witnesses a murder committed by Maguire’s only son, a druggie who gets involved in a drug scheme gone wrong. The film becomes a father-son saga with many issues to work through and to forgive. But for one long night they work as a team to try to outsmart and outrun Maguire’s army of henchmen, along with the cop (Vincent D’Onofrio), who’s been trying to put Jimmy away for the past three decades.
Common, fresh from his Oscar win for his song “Glory” from “Selma,” plays Mr. Price, the assassin who says he would kill Mike just for the joy of it. Common is unrecognizable in his role as a hit man obsessed with killing both father and son. On the red carpet I asked Common how he got into the head of such a brutal character. “I tried to zone in,” he told me. “ I was happy to be a part of it with Liam Neeson. I knew that I wanted to go to that dark place and I did it. I just gave my all.” He added, “It was definitely heavy training cause you’re fighting against one of the best, one of the greatest to ever do it, Liam Neeson, so for me to go toe to toe with him, man to man, I had to go through the training and the process because he has the experiences that I don’t have but it was fun. My character Price definitely challenges him.”
Kinnaman, who has a Swedish accent he manages to disguise in his screen work, raved about playing opposite Liam Neeson. “It was a great honor to play with Liam, to play his son. It was a really great time. He’s a really sweet and gentle man that’s very generous, no ego and he’s got a great sense of humor, so it’s really easy.”
(Neither Neeson nor Harris was made available for quotes, so we don’t know what they thought.)
The Swedish actor has a bunch of action thrillers coming out soon. “What’s coming is going to be even more intense,” he promised. He said he likes to mix it up in his acting choices. “The people who watch the films that I’ve done, I think they can appreciate that I try to do,” he said. “I don’t try to stick with one thing and for me that is what I aspire to do, which is to do as different roles as possible.”
After his last interview, he actor rushed over to Wattenstrom, who was at the edge of the red carpet and gave her a passionate Hollywood-type smooch, and then the exotic couple walked hand in hand into the theater.
photo Paula Schwartz c2015 Showbiz411
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The myth of Liam Neeson turns tragic in Run All Night http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2015/03/24/the-myth-of-liam-neeson-turns-tragic-in-run-all-night
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