Brothers Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix) and Joe Grusinsky (Mark Wahlberg) are the sons of a larger-than-life father, big city Police Chief Bert Grusinsky (played by Robert Duvall). Both struggle in how they respond to their old man's expectations: Bobby is drawn to the thrill of the night life, while younger Joe follows in his Dad's footsteps and becomes a respected police officer.
Set in 1988 New York City, We Own The Night tells the story of brothers estranged by ideology and interest who become united by a common--and urgent--crisis.
The relationship between them can be so complicated. Many times, the complications are driven by pride. And needlessly so.
Several years ago my sister divorced from her first husband. As a result of the divorce--and for reasons too personal to go into here-- my brother became angry at my sister and for quite a long time refused to speak to her.
One night, after a family get-together, I recognized that our sister's children were beginning to notice our brother's behavior. As the oldest sibling I felt some obligation to help solve the problem, so I told my brother his rudeness was affecting our nieces and nephews, and it should stop.
He immediately cut me out of his life, and has spoken to me only a couple of times since, when I've initiated a conversation. I think the last sentence he said to me even ended with the phrase:
"I'd like to take you out back and beat your ass."
I found out that he was in the hospital a few weeks ago, with a sudden bout of pneumonia. So I called him up, and wished him well. I was sort of hoping the call I made would jump-start the relationship, sort of like what happened in We Own The Night. I ended up talking to him by telephone a couple of times while he was hospitalized, but haven't spoken to him since he returned home.
I'm kinda waiting now for him to call me. Like I said: needless complications driven by pride.
It's a shame, all around.
At least things turned out well in We Own The Night. Too bad it was just an average movie.