Night Comes for Us Joe TaslimYear: 2018
Director(s): Timo Tjahjanto
Writer(s): Timo Tjahjanto
Region of Origin: Indonesia
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Rating: n/a
Color, 121 mins

Synopsis: A gangland enforcer is caught amidst a treacherous and violent insurrection. (Source)

How many ways can the human body be sliced, blown to bits or completely mutilated? The possibilities are endless of course, and many that you never dared to dream of are in Timo Tjahjanto’s The Night Comes For Us. This isn’t merely another action film for the casual viewer. It’s an all out assault on the senses that could make even the most hardcore horror film blush. As Inonesia’s latest extreme action thriller, Tjahjanto’s film is an exhausting, obliterating experience that’s completely unmissable. Featuring cast favorites from the Raid franchise, this is unequivocally the year’s best action film, and an instant stone cold classic. Tjahjanto and crew have created the next step in the genre, and it’s a literally mind-blowing experience that beats us senseless and makes us beg for more.

The South East Asia Triad is basically the hub of Asia’s smuggling activities. To remain in power and keep the competition in check, it employs a small team of enforcers known as the Six Seas. These people are the deadliest of the deadly, given full autonomy to shape things as they see fit. Looking for redemption, one of these enforcers, Ito (Joe Taslim), spares the life of a young girl named Reina (Asha Kenyeri Bermudez). This immediately makes him a target to those he’d sworn to obey. With the Triad sending everyone his way, Ito and Reina are thrust into an all out battle for survival. It also sends Ito hurtling towards an inevitable showdown with his replacement, Arian (Iko Uwais), who was once his best friend.

With just the right amount of character and emotion weaved throughout, Tjahjanto’s breathtaking direction and star Iko Uwais’ choreography take center stage. As if you didn’t already guess, the main draw here are the extended moments of savage mayhem. And boy do they deliver. The action here is mind-blowing to say the least. Massive fights spill in and out of crumbling rooms while gallons of blood, limbs and organs fly across the screen. The only way to describe it would be a balletic display of sadistic excess. Every scene and character goes straight for the throat, taking no prisoners and amounting to a singular kind of violent abandon. From moments of close quarters combat, to car chases and all-out massacres, nothing feels repetitious, even if it starts to wear us down by design. When all is said and done, we’ve felt every hit and dismemberment, feeling like we’ve fought alongside the film’s characters for survival, and somehow made it out to tell the tale.

Night Comes for Us review Joe TaslimThough the real star here is the film’s insane action, the performers are what make it all come to life. Taslim’s Ito gives the film its stakes, allowing for a troubled protagonist that we can understand and get behind. He’s a great no-nonsense leading man, and sells the film’s physicality. On the other end, Iko Uwais’ Arian is just as gripping. Unlike most films of this type, he’s an antagonistic figure who is torn by what he has to do. Uwais brings a conviction that can’t be faked. On the side, Julie Estelle, Hannah Al Rashid and Dian Sastrowardoyo create memorable characters who I don’t want to spoil – just trust me, they’re amazing. And of course, the stunt work here is top notch. Everyone involved is pushing the human body as far as it can go, amounting to cascading moments of lunacy with a genuine sense of tactility.

The Night Comes For Us is a brutal experience that never lets up. As a longtime fan of the genre, Tjahjanto, Uwais and crew have created something that’s one of a kind. The stunts are unparalleled, the set pieces are sprawling and the story is timeless. This film doesn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of narrative, but it doesn’t have to. It’s about putting us right there, between every punch, stab and near miss. On every level, this is a smart, ruthlessly crafted landmark of action spectacle. At a time when everything feels homogenized or watered down, this is a reminder of a time when action films felt transgressive and dangerous. And I loved every second of it.

SG