Joaquin Phoenix plays Bobby, a nightclub manager who has disappointed his dad and brother (Robert Duvall and Mark Whalberg) by not following in their policing footsteps. But when his club is raided and his brother is shot Bobby’s forced to choose once-and-for-all between his native nightclub and policing pedigree.
While well directed by James Gray, what really stands out is the intensity of Phoenix’s performance. He always does a good job as characters who are troubled and broken, but it’s his ability to tap into extreme anger which really stands out as he spits in pure fury.
Robert Duvall is also good, playing a very similar distant father figure to The Judge. However his police force, like that in The Woman in the Window, is lacking in discretion to an almost comical degree as operations are botched and he blurts out details of his son’s witness protection status in the presence of the film’s main villain.
The film it’s most similar to is Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and it’s essentially a very well made version of many other film that come straight out of the crime thriller template. So while it may not own the day (or night), it’s probably worth seeing for Phoenix fans.