“At the height of its power……the south east Asian TRIAD controls 80% of Asia’s smuggling activities. Utilizing the notorious Golden Triangle as their main hub. The TRIAD profits heavily from the trade of illegal drugs, weapons and human trafficking. To keep the channels free from chaos and outside disturbances TRIAD leaders created a formation of elite delegates…..
Allowing them free reign to employ “extreme measures” All in the name of order and obedience
These delegates are six men and women…….their identities anonymous.
They are known as the SIX SEAS” (Opening text of The Night Comes For Us)
The Night Comes For Us is an Indonesian action thriller released in 2018. It has the distinction of being the first Indonesian film to be produced and released by Netflix.
It is the tale of Ito (Joe Taslim), a member of the Triads’ Six Sea’s, who decides to get out by rescuing a child and incurs the wrath of his superiors. His friend Arian (Iko Uwais) is tasked with going back to Jakarta to find him.
Written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto who also made Headshot, this film started off as a screenplay but was shelved and it got written as a graphic novel which was then turned into this awesome piece of work.
The cast of this film will be familiar to anyone who has kept up with Indonesian action since The Raid was released. The familiar faces are Joe Taslim (The Raid, Warrior TV series) as Ito, Iko Uwais (The Raid 1+2, Headshot)as Arian, Julie Estelle (The Raid 2, Headshot) as The Operator, Zack Lee(The Raid 2, Headshot) as Bobby and Sunny Pang (the outstanding villain Lee in Headshot) as Chien Wu. The not so familiar faces are Abimana Aryasatya as Fatih, Dian Sastrowardoyo as Alma and Hannah Al Rashid as Elena.
For us this film is pretty close to perfect. The storytelling hooks you from the beginning and its themes are universally accessible. It is by no means a new story, it is a pretty familiar action movie trope, but we feel the writing of the characters elevates it to the next level.
With a 2hr run time they pack a lot into it without making it feel rushed. The characters are well fleshed out with back-story and reasons for why this turn of events transpires. There is use of flashback which we feel is used very well, triggered by where the characters are and play more like memories rather than an easy way of putting in their individual tales for sake of exposision.
It may be hard to say whether this is an action film or a character piece with action in it. Each of the characters is three dimensional and is superbly acted by the cast.
The standout performance for Jamie is Zack Lee’s Bobby, a very energetic performance of a man who has done wrong in his past but is doing his best to make up for it. For me Zack Lee, as well as the wee girl is the heart of the film. Bobby, sets everything in motion three years earlier. The wee girl brings everything to a head, to an end. Bobby`s journey is so emotional – the onslaught on the flat, is by far my favorite scene. Why; this is mainly due to Bobby and how attached to are too him. The violence of it all is just secondary to the character of Bobby, in the flat. True testament to a great character actor Zack Lee
For Paul (this is one of his favourite films) the standout is Hannah Al Rashid as Elena.
Elena is one of the two assassins sent after Ito and the girl and Al Rashid plays her with a dangerous stillness which seems to be constantly weighing everything up. You know what they say it is the quiet ones you have to watch out for. That coupled with a blonde undercut, a kukri and Al Rashid’s Silat skills, if you see this film hopefully you can understand why Elena is one of Paul’s all time favourite characters put on screen.
The action contained in this piece is not for the faint of heart! As with the directors previous work Headshot TNCFU is quite graphic in its portrayal of violence in that the consequences are shown. Tightly choreographed by Action Coordinator Iko Uwais and Stunt Coordinator Very Tri Yulisman the fights are fast and brutal. Each fight has a different tone depending on the parties involved and the environment it takes place in. There are a few flashes to character traits contained within the combat and also a few beats which in, for example, a Jackie Chan film would be seen as straight up comedic but in this work come across as darkly so. There are also some great weapons sequences which this particular team of filmmakers is brilliant at.
We always talk about the people you see on screen but here we want to give a shout-out to the creative team behind the camera. The cinematography here, by Gunnar Nimpuno, is a joy to watch; it flows with the action seamlessly and is pretty kinetic in the action sequences. We feel that this technique works really well in contrast to the moments where the storytelling eases up slightly in the “conversation” scenes when the camera is still to capture the relationships between the characters. The editing by Arifin Cu’unk is on point as well, the film plays very smoothly and within one particular action sequence there is a cut but you really have to look find it.
As we said at the start this film is a Netflix production and as far as we know has not had a cinema release. Both Jamie and I feel that this is a movie which would look great on the big screen and it’s a shame we might never be able to have that experience.
We would like to finish this review by ranking this film in our personal top ten’s which for geeks like us can change daily!
Paul; As I’ve already said this is one of my favourite movies I’ve ever seen. It is permanently on my Netflix list and I regularly watch it 2-3 times a month. It is definitely No.1 on my top ten.
Jamie; I have not watched this as many times as Paul. I place it at No,9 on my top ten, too many classics that beat this one to the No.1 spot. Always find top ten etc hard to do…