We Own the Night ★★★
11.50pm-2.30am Sony Movie Channel
High-class writer/director James Gray was born in New York, and has set all four of his films there – specifically in the borough of Brooklyn – from acclaimed debut Little Odessa to 2008’s Dostoyevsky update Two Lovers. We Own the Night not only shares a neighbourhood with the rest of Gray’s canon, it’s also the second time he’s paired Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix. In The Yards, they played subway train workers. Here, in a tale set in the late 80s, they’re brothers in a police dynasty headed by patriarch Robert Duvall: Wahlberg is a tough, dedicated NYPD captain; Phoenix is initially estranged and running a nightclub, until drawn into an undercover operation involving Russian gangsters. This is a hard-boiled crime drama, with a great sense of place, some solid performances and enough of an accent on family loyalty and brotherly bonding to offset the macho, lock-and-load heroics. If you follow Gray’s dogged work, though, you might wonder if he’ll ever escape from New York.
For more of today’s free-to-air films, see our TV listings