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Run All Night (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 114 minutes.

Not for children.

The Liam Neeson we’ve grown to know and love is back! Here he plays Jimmy Conlon, Brooklyn mobster and hitman, once known as the gravedigger. He’s the long time best friend of mob boss Sean Maguire (Ed Harris). Both of them are in their mid-50s. Jimmy has an estranged son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman) who runs afoul of the mob and becomes a target. Jimmy is his only hope, but he wants nothing of it. Making matters worse, is NYPD detective John Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio) who is out to get Jimmy for all the murders he has committed. The themes throughout are the relationships among fathers and sons and best friends, but the point of the movie is violence.

This Neeson, while controlled, isn’t the guy we’re used to seeing. He’s one of Hollywood’s favorite fictional characters, the hitman burdened by guilt, something that really doesn’t exist in the real world. His guilt has driven him to alcoholism. But this is a movie, so suspend disbelief. And everyone wants to like and root for Liam Neeson.

This is well-directed with terrific pace and high pressure by Jaume Collet-Serra from an original screenplay by Brad Inglesby and it’s a big step up from Inglesby’s last outing, Out of the Furnace (2012), that had a first hour so slow seasons were changing outside the theater before anything started to happen onscreen.

Here things start popping from the opening scene that shows Jimmy in very bad shape on his back with a bullet wound in his stomach. The film immediately flashes back to 16 hours previous to tell us how Jimmy came to be in such a bad situation.

From then on it’s nonstop action highlighted by tension-enhancing music by Tom Holkenborg, exceptional cinematography by Martin Ruhe, and Inglesby’s good dialogue.

This is a chase film that should have the entire audience shaking in its boots throughout.