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5 great movies set in a single night

Writer: Casey Chong


Sticking true to its name, "Run All Night" is set in a single night.

After back-to-back successful collaborations through "Unknown" (2011) and "Non-Stop" (2014), director Jaume Collet-Serra reunites with Liam Neeson for the third time in the hard-hitting action thriller "Run All Night". This time, Liam Neeson plays an aging hitman, who has to protect his son (Joel Kinnaman) from getting killed by a mob, led by his ex-boss (Ed Harris) and it's all set in a single night.

To coincide with the upcoming release of "Run All Night", let's take a look back at our five best movies pick that's set in the course of a single night.

1. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966)

(L-R) Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in a scene from "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?".

Brilliantly adapted from Edward Albee's play by Ernest Lehman, the late Mike Nichols' black-and-white classic drama was a thought-provoking study of marital problems between two bickering middle-aged people (played by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton). Like a thriller set in a single night, Nichols' direction was similarly tense, especially the way he used tight close-ups to evoke a sense of claustrophobic tension within the dramatic moments.

2. "After Hours" (1985)

(L-R) Griffin Dunne and John Heard in "After Hours".

Who would have thought that director Martin Scorsese can manage to pull off a successful black comedy with "After Hours"? After all, the Queens-born veteran filmmaker was primarily known for making gangster films such as "Mean Streets" (1973), "Goodfellas" (1990) and "Casino" (1995). Led by Griffin Dunne – who gave a terrific performance of his lifetime – "After Hours" was a simple, but wickedly funny and innovative black comedy about one man's pathetic life forced to survive a series of bizarre situations on a single night. Shot entirely at night on location in New York City at the minimal cost of US$3.5 million, "After Hours" was highly regarded as one of Scorsese's best directorial efforts to date.

3. "Die Hard" (1988)

Bruce Willis in a scene from "Die Hard".

After almost three decades since the original release of "Die Hard" back in 1988, the movie remained the best of its kind that is rarely surpassed by other countless imitators. Back then, the premise was a thrilling setup: a character trapped in a confined location (in this case, a tall building of the Nakatomi Plaza) and forced to battle against armed terrorists at all cost. Then-TV actor Bruce Willis of "Moonlighting" was immediately catapulted into Hollywood stardom with his breakthrough role as John McClane, and the movie's spectacular mix of well-staged action sequences, memorable catchphrases and gripping storyline made "Die Hard" an action classic.

4. "Judgment Night" (1993)

(L-R) Jeremy Piven, Emilio Estevez, Stephen Dorff and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Best known for the underrated sequel of "Predator 2", director Stephen Hopkins crafted this tense thriller set on a single night at the deserted streets of Chicago's West Side area. The movie was blessed with compelling performances from all the cast – Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Stephen Dorff and Jeremy Piven – as four unlucky friends accidentally witnessing a murder in the wrong place at the wrong time. Among other highlights of this movie was, of course, Denis Leary, who gave a memorably frightening performance as the gangster boss, Fallon.

5. "Panic Room" (2002)

(L-R) Kristen Stewart and Jodie Foster in "Panic Room".

You can't go wrong with David Fincher when he's responsible for making some of the best psychological thrillers out there, like "Se7en" (1995), "The Game" (1997), "Zodiac" (2007) and "Gone Girl" (2014). Another great early thriller from this filmmaker was "Panic Room" starring Jodie Foster and a pre-"Twilight" Kristen Stewart as a mother and daughter pair trying to survive the night inside a panic room, while three intruders (Jared Leto, Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam) break into their house. "Panic Room" was best remembered for Fincher's innovative camerawork, which saw him constantly panning through the floors, while diving into keyholes to create the otherwise one-note single location into a wide lively setting.


Cinema Online, 17 March 2015

Related Movies:
Run All Night (12 Mar 2015)

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