While I was watching this movie I found it compelling. But by the end I felt like it was missing something. I don’t know what.
Joaquin Phoenix is Bobby Green, the manager of a popular night club. He’s also the brother of Joseph Grusinsky (Mark Wahlberg) and the son of Albert Grusinsky (Robert Duvall)–both New York police officers. Bobby loves his life, and his family ties are a dirty little secret he keeps hidden from his friends and cohorts.
But the two worlds collide when Joseph and Albert raid Bobby’s club, chasing a Russian drug lord. Their actions start a series of unfortunate events that change the three men’s lives forever. Bobby is forced to grow up quickly and leave his party lifestyle behind, and suddenly he’s making choices that affect his brother, father and even his girlfriend (Eva Mendes). Their lives are now in his hands; Bobby’s contempt toward his family is immediately forgotten, and his brother and father’s value to him quickly comes into focus.
I love Joaquin Phoenix. He’s played both scumbags and sympathetic characters, and he does his craft so well. It was a treat to see more of his acting range in this movie. Bobby’s evolution as a character was beautifully done, and as a result I cared very much for Bobby. I also liked the relationship between Bobby and Amada (Eva Mendes). Surprisingly their relationship went beyond sex, and the director did a great job of depicting their obvious devotion to one another. That’s something you don’t see a lot in movies of this genre.
I think the missing link for me was the way things ended. It felt incomplete, like I didn’t get closure somehow.
Overall I give this movie 4.5/5 stars.
P.S. This movie is rated R for a reason! (Nudity and drug use.)