The Yin and the Gang
Review by Christopher Coleman
James Gray doesn't direct a ton of movies, but when he does, he seems partial to having actors Mark Wahlberg and Joacquin Phoenix star in them. James Gray has only directed a handful of films since the mid-90s, and apparently prefers scores that are generally subdued, dark, and brooding. Gray's 2007 project, WE OWN THE NIGHT, reportedly took years to write, but its unlikely much of that time was spent deciding who would play the main roles or what type of score he would have. For his latest project, Gray kept to form. Wahlberg and Phoenix play brothers who live on opposite sides of the law and are at each others throats. As Joseph (Wahlberg) follows in the footsteps of their father as a policeman, Bobby (Phoenix) changes his surname and lives the high-life of the late 1980s running in the circle of the Russian mob of Brooklyn, NY. The tension of WE OWN THE NIGHT is to see who actually owns the night: the police or the mob. The night life of the 1980s dance scene is contrasted with the cold, midnight-blue of New Yorks finest. It's about opposites and what it takes to get the two sides to attempt some sort of synthesis. They can try, but they never really mix. It's the yin and the yang and this contrast is carried right over into the film's soundtrack.