Run All Night (Warner Bros. Pictures, R)

run_all_night_75The anticipation rises and adrenaline keeps pumping throughout the entirety of the film—there is not a single dull moment.


If you saw the trailer for this movie and thought, “Great, another Taken, but with a son this time,” let me be the first to tell you that you’re wrong. I admit, I walked into the theater expecting to be unable to separate Run All Night from Liam Neeson’s previous action films, but I am delighted to say Run All Night exceeded my expectations.

Within the first few minutes, it is clear that this is a different kind of role for Neeson. His character, Jimmy Conlon, is vulnerable. Jimmy lives alone, has no friends, drinks too much, and takes orders from Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook), the son of his previous boss.

Neeson does not dominate the screen time in the first 20 or so minutes of the film, which I credit to writer Brad Inglesby’s approach to introduce us to the world. We meet a myriad of characters and get a glimpse of what their roles will be and how they will connect to one another later in the film. Aside from the opening scene, the way the introduction of the film is written makes it seem almost as if Neeson will not be the star of the film, which allows for the audience to let go of any preconceived notions.

The action sequences in this film are very well done. You get car chases, chases on foot in various interesting settings, lots of shootings, and a fire, but none of these scenes are overdone or too long. Every new chase scene steps it up a notch, upping the stakes and raising the anticipation so you don’t feel like you’re watching the same thing over and over again.

Cinematically, this film is absolutely beautiful. The title is taken literally as the entire film takes place in a single night, and the lighting is consistent throughout the film to maintain the dark tone but also stay true to the time of day as the night comes to an end.

I am especially fond of the transitions used in this film. Rather than simply cutting to the next scene, they use a freeze frame and then zoom out and take the audience on a bird’s-eye view ride through the city to the setting of the next scene. Beyond being cool to look at, I like these transitions because they give a very real sense of the city and how far apart the characters are from one another.

Run All Night does depict Neeson racing to save his family, similar to Taken, but Run All Night goes more in depth with other characters. While Jimmy (Neeson) is trying to save his son, Mike (Joel Kinneman), Mike is trying to save his own family while simultaneously reconstruct a relationship with his father. We are also given a look into the lives of those trying to catch the Conlons—Detective Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Shawn Mcguire (Ed Harris)—and some of the motives behind their actions. The strongest performance is given by Joel Kinneman, who beyond nailing the action components brings a great deal of depth and emotion to his character.

I can’t say this film isn’t predictable at times, because it’s an action movie so of course you can predict when a chase scene is coming or that someone is going to die, but it’s doesn’t become boring. The anticipation rises and adrenaline keeps pumping throughout the entirety of the film—there is not a single dull moment.

I was more than pleasantly surprised by Run All Night, I was completely blown away. This film is fantastic from start to finish. From the story to the acting to the stunts and effects, this movie is excellent on all accounts. | Samantha LaBat

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