Take the Night

At the heart of Seth McTigue’s (writer/director/producer/star) taut thriller Take the Night is strife between two brothers. They have been torn apart by the overpowering presence of their (recently deceased) father who had a clear favorite son. The young and playful Robert Chang (Sam Song Li) surpassed his resentful and irresponsible brother William (Roy Huang) for a pivotal role in their family’s major company. When Robert is accosted by masked gunmen and put in a car trunk, the audience assumes it’s foul play likely at the hands of his brother.

McTigue consistently toys with viewers’ expectations throughout the film. We eventually learn that William hired four men to stage a fake kidnapping for his brother’s birthday—a strange, high-adrenaline kind of gift that only a wealthy person would think of. Once these men realize the bountiful fortune the Chang family rests on, they decide to kidnap Robert for real. The group consists of down-on-their-luck men. There’s another pair of brothers, Chad (Seth McTigue) and Todd (Brennan Keel Cook), who are just as fraught as the Changs. While dealing with PTSD from the war, Chad must reel in his impulsive, childish brother. Justin served with Chad and now refuses to speak. An injury prevented Shannon (Shomari Love) from his NBA dreams. All of these actors deliver solid and pensive performances that draw sympathy for their characters despite their misdeeds. 

Take the Night leaves a lot of questions unanswered and attempts to build to a surprising twist. McTigue crafts slick car chase scenes that have a cool sheen and are gripping to watch. Jonas Wikstrand’s score, reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s Dark Knight trilogy, adds a propulsive feeling to the action. In his clever script, McTigue gradually goes back and forth through time to unwind revelations about his protagonist’s motivations. Take the Night is an intriguing and atmospheric mixture of tense excitement and mystery laced with sentimentality about dissonant family relationships, elevating it above the average crime film.

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