Neil Runge | Staff Writer
Netflix’s The Night Comes for Us is two hours of pure gory, blood-soaked goodness mixed with a story about life and death.
Based on a graphic novel by director Timo Tjahjanto, this Indonesian film follows Ito, a former member of the Six Seas: an elite group of men and women that are involved with the Triad. After sparing the life of a young girl named Reina, Ito is faced with fight after fight to protect her and make sure she boards a boat to start a new life. He goes up against the other members of the Triad and people he used to call family in bloody fights that keep up a quick pace with no time to breathe or rest.
This movie isn’t for the faint of heart or anyone easily sick to their stomach. The level of bloodiness puts Tarantino to shame. Every scene has violence that makes you cover your eyes, timidly peeking through them to see what happens.
Death is a major theme in Tjahjanto’s film. From the start, we see a village massacred. From then on out, death is in every scene, and is essential to Ito’s character development. Ito is haunted by the destruction he has caused.
Underneath all the gore is a story about family, betrayal and giving a child a chance to survive. This is all supported with a cast that is astounding; Joe Taslim who plays Ito delivers a performance that drives home the idea of a troubled man seeking redemption. The rest of the actors build up a cast of characters that show Ito’s allies and enemies, from the mysterious woman named The Operator to the show off, slightly off-kilter friend Bobby.
This tale of fighters is made believable with the top-notch fight choreography. The conflicts never feel repetitive or boring, with the creative use of unconventional weapons and the environment as a weapon itself by using tables and pillars to take enemies down. All of this makes every encounter feel new and amazing. They’re also unpredictable; it isn’t clear who will win each fight. Not knowing how the fight is going to end keeps viewers in suspense and almost stressed.
While it excels in some areas, in others it can fall flat. At times the camera feels claustrophobic, especially during fight scenes, making the scene shaky and nauseating. At other times the camera doesn’t feel close enough; not intimate enough for what is being said or done.
Another place where it falls short is its female characters. Two out of the four major female roles are given to villains, which is already an issue with representation of women, but then the two villains aren’t just queer-coded — they are queer. They are explicitly labelled as lesbians by other characters in the film. This sends out an obvious message that members of the lesbian community are villainous and bad guys. The other major women characters are Reina, who barely speaks and The Operator, who also doesn’t speak much. All-in-all, female characters don’t get much time to shine besides being villains who are killed off.
The Night Comes for Us is a movie that satisfies that desire for gore and violence that almost everyone feels from time to time, and it does it masterfully.