Courtesy of Universal Pictures
This is the Night is the latest film directed by James Demonaco. Demonaco is known for writing and directing The Purge franchise. This is the Night follows a boy named Anthony on the day of the release of Rocky III in theaters.
This film is personal for Demonaco. Demonaco grew up in Staten Island and is Italian just like the main character Anthony. Demonaco in this film re imagines 1982 in Staten Island. Everything from the hairstyles, clothes, cars, etc. looked like it was from that time. As a fellow Staten Islander, I appreciated that. I always wanted to know what Staten Island was like at certain times in history. I recognized streets and found myself saying "wow I know where that is." Other than that, this film didn't do anything for me. I found myself questioning the film. In the film, there are three different story-lines. All three story-lines felt like they could be their own movie. I felt like I was watching three different movies at the same time.
This is the Night tries to be the ultimate coming of age story. It tries to inspire the audience to face your fears like Rocky. The only character that takes Rocky's message is Anthony. The other two story-lines don't take Rocky's message at all. When you have a film centered on a film, you would think all the story-lines feature Rocky but they don't. Demonaco's attempt of these story-lines is ambitious but leaves the film with an identity issue. All three stories could have been a film on their own but all together, they didn't mix well.
It was still cool to see Staten Island during that time and as a fellow Staten Islander it gave me a visual to what my parents would say life was like. It doesn't deliver for me but Demonaco is a filmmaker that goes outside of his comfort zone and that is something I can definitely appreciate.
This is the Night stars: Frank Grillo, Naomi Watts, Lucius Hoyos, Jonah Hauer King, Madelyn Cline, and Bobby Cannavale. The film is out now on all digital platforms.
What are your thoughts on this film? Leave it in the comments below.
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