Terribly Dull: Our Review of ‘Manhattan Night’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - August 28, 2016
Terribly Dull: Our Review of ‘Manhattan Night’

New York City is big enough of a place to let a person live many present lives. Adrien Brody gets to do that in Manhattan Night, where he can be a writer. While searching for the right words to describe the grisly deaths in the streets of Harlem, he’s sullen yet sincere. When we see these early scenes we see that this is one of the places where his character, Porter Wren, belongs. He has a way with people on the wrong side of uptown, comforting them during the worst times of their lives. He’s also a family man, trying to shelter his wife Lisa (Jennifer Beals) from his gritty work.

Of course, the movie has other terrible plans, the film taking a turn for worse when he meets a widow, Caroline Crowley, (Yvonne Strahovski). She claims that he can solve her husband Simon’s (Campbell Scott) murder through these multiple video files. But stories require a struggling protagonist. Porter finds out that some oligarch, Hobbs (Steven Berkoff), has his own reasons for obtaining these files. Where does his loyalty lie? Is this a question already in play, since he is emotionally invested in people he just met? Will it be for the sleazy rich guy or for the woman who has zero charisma?

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Brian DeCubellis’ cinematic adaptation of Colin Harrison’s novel Manhattan Nocturne stretches its audience’s suspension of disbelief. The movie doesn’t just put people in the same room even if they have no business together. DeCubellis also squanders the chance to give us a tone or a way of seeing the city and his characters. I wanted to feel the decadence of the world Porter was getting himself into, or the dangerous person he’s becoming. Unfortunately we get nothing, a lackluster translation of a genre yearning for its better days.

Manhattan Night comes out in August 26 in Toronto.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.