Take the Night Image

Take the Night

By Alan Ng | July 8, 2022

NOW IN THEATERS! It’s worth repeating. You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family. Busting balls and pranking your kin is what families do, but what happens when you allow your emotional hangups to get in the way? A misguided prank unravels a fragile family dynamic in Seth McTigue’s dramatic thriller, Take the Night.

Take the Night follows two sets of brothers on opposite ends of the economic strata. William (Roy Huang) and Robert Chang (Sam Song Li) are the sons of a wealthy Chinese importer. After their father’s death, favorite son Robert is appointed CEO over his older brother. William now works under Robert as an executive lackey and harbors a fair amount of resentment.

Chang Imports is now in trouble as there is little faith the brothers can bring the company out of its economic woes. Though the brother rarely speaks without a healthy dose of passive aggression, William thinks it would be a good idea to throw Robert a birthday party and, as a special surprise, hire four thugs to kidnap him and deliver him to the party. Now, we all see how funny that can be, right?

Robert hires veteran Chad (Seth McTigue), who then recruits his younger brother Todd (Brennan Keel Cook), who, in turn, brings on friends Shannon (Shomari Love) and Justin (Antonio Aaron). Simple, right? As the quartet goes through with the fake kidnapping, they decide to rob the kidnapped executive by forcing him to open his home’s safe. The safe holds a small stack of gold bars, a hard drive with a large sum of money in cryptocurrency, family jewelry, and an unopened letter from William and Robert’s father.

“…throw Robert a birthday party and…hire four thugs to kidnap him and deliver him to the party.”

Take the Night is more a drama than it is a thriller. The way the kidnapping and heist play out is pretty straightforward, and everything goes according to plan. The action is good and void of overblown, expensive stunts, elaborate car chases, or fight scenes, writer/director/star McTigue wisely focuses on his characters and their story arcs.

The filmmaker explores the family dynamic between the two brothers. There are reasons why William chose a violent surprise for his brother. When Robert is dumped off at his birthday party by the “kidnappers,” the robbery catches William off guard, realizing he has made a massive mistake. His prank cost the family and business millions, and now William is in the middle of a police investigation for the kidnapping he planned. On the other hand, Robert focuses on getting back only the personal items stolen: the watch and letter from his father.

On the other side, Chad and Todd have their issues, too, and you guessed it… those issues stem from daddy too. Chad is former military and suffers from PTSD along with his buddy, Justin. Todd never followed in his brother’s footsteps, yet he wished he did. Chad is older and “in control,” while Todd is something of a slacker.

As a filmmaker, McTigue’s strength comes in the way he builds sympathy for his characters. Take the Night should be a simple tale of good and evil, yet we have characters on all sides stuck in life with their personal, emotional, and financial problems. The extreme acts of kidnapping and robbery will change these characters for the better and worse.

Take the Night stands at a solid 7.5. It’s a good thriller with excellent performances. The film also has impressive production values, and the cinematography is top-notch. The world that McTigue built feels authentic, particularly for an indie film. What the film needed to push it into the 8 or 9 range is more… as in pushing the boundaries of the action and pushing the characters to their limits.

Take the Night hits theaters on July 8 and On-Demand and Video on July 12.

Take the Night (2022)

Directed and Written: Seth McTigue

Starring: Seth McTigue, Roy Huang, Sam Song Li, Shomari Love, Antonio Aaron, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Take the Night Image

"…McTigue's strength comes in the way he builds sympathy for his characters."

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