The Night Of (2016) Review

So, I have this thing where I find an actor/actress I like, I may have liked them in a role and/or they were a standout, so I watch whatever else I can get my hands on they were in. I think Orlando Bloom was the first person I did that with, but I still do it. That’s how I usually get to a lot of movies, I have seen a lot. That last person I did that with, I think was Oscar Isaac after really liking Poe Dameron in Episode VII, so I went through his filmography and found I actually seen him in a few things, but he’s such a chameleon I didn’t know it lol. So, after seeing Rogue One, I really liked Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and I realized he was in Nightcrawler as Rick and I was impressed!  So that’s how I came across this mini series, not to mention my older sister mentioned it to me when I told her the connection with him that I figured out.
This mini series… wow. I didn’t know much about it going in, so below are my thoughts.
Summary: After a night of partying with a female stranger, a man wakes up to find her stabbed to death and is charged with her murder.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. So because this is a mini series, there are the “regular” characters and those who came in and out of the show. But I’m only going to focus on a few. At least the ones we saw the most.
  • Riz Ahmed as Nasir “Naz” Khan. He is a 23 year old college student. When we meet him, he just seems like a regular kid from Brooklyn, there’s nothing really “interesting” about him. He’s just cute lol. He then meets this girl that night. When everything starts happening, he’s freaking out. He runs from her house in fright when he finds her dead in her bed. Of course he gets caught and he is so adamant that he did not kill her. He maintains strongly throughout the miniseries that he didn’t do it. The pain, the fear and confusion are all in his eyes. I think Riz Ahmed does such a great job with that, he has large eyes and I think that helps with this character. Whenever he is on screen and he’s not talking, he puts everything into his eyes, and maybe some slip quips with his lips. Ahmed plays Naz in the beginning with such fear that as he begins to spend more time in Rikers the changes are subtle at first and physical, but it slowly starts to change and it becomes who he is and then it reaches his eyes. By the end of the show, I still believed in his innocence and I still loved his character, but he started making me go “smh” so much. Riz Ahmed was amazing here. Again, his eyes, wow. The subtle differences as time went on, so well done. He deserves that Golden Globe nomination.
  • John Turturro as John Stone. So this guy was interesting, he was one of those lawyers who went around to precincts to pick up cases. Normally, he does cases that are simple where the defendant takes a plea bargain because they did it. He just so happened to be in the precinct when Nasir was arrested and he ends up making himself his lawyer. He also has a really bad case of Eczema on his feet. Stone is kind of brash, it’s obvious to see that he’s smart but he also seems to be a bit of a jerk, well very much a jerk, and he really wants to help Nasir. A couple of things happen where he has reevaluate how he handles the case, but in the beginning, it seems like he believes Naz did it, which Naz picked up on but John denies that. I think he believed he did it too. But we see him change a bit too as the show goes on, this case really ends up affecting him a lot. John Turturro is a likable actor, and I think he helps make John Stone likable even though he’s definitely a jerk.
  • Bill Camp as Detective Dennis Box. I did not trust this guy, he was just doing his job but he’s that dude who knows that someone is off, even though it seems like it’s all pointed to one person. Naz, is innocent and I think he knew it from the beginning but he wanted him to admit he did it but then it seemed like he definitely though he did it. It was weird. He’d been in the business a long time, was preparing to retire and this case would be his last. It was just interesting to see how he operated. By the end of the series, it seemed like he really started to look harder at the evidence. Such an interesting character. I don’t think I’ve seen Bill Camp in anything else, but he reminded me of someone else. But, I thought he was a great, he had this thing where he would give off this expression where he looks sympathetic but his expression would switch really quick. Camp did a good job of portraying this man who had seen a lot.
  • Michael Kenneth Williams as Freddy. This dude was really interesting, he was a pro Boxer, who ended up in jail. I think it was violence. But when Naz gets into Rikers, he immediately is watching him. He watches Naz get threatened by the other inmates, as they all think he raped and killed her. He offers his protection. The way I see it, he helps Naz survive in prison but he corrupts him. I mean, I get it, but and I appreciated him protecting him but I did not like how he protected him. I think Williams is so intimidating but he’s a great actor. This scary demeanor to him makes you want to stay away but he’s also very charismatic that I see why people immediately do what he says. I mean, he lives it up in there. There’s a very interesting conversation he has with Naz, I think on the last episode or episode 7. Very interesting.
  • Amara Karan as Chandra Kapoor. Chandra shows up due to her boss, a leading lawyer, offering Naz’s parents to help pro bono as long as Naz takes the plea bargain. Chandra ends up working with him as she’s from Mumbai and it helps make them comfortable. I really liked her, not only was she beautiful, but she was smart. She really wanted to help, I don’t think she thought he did it, it may have crossed her mind but the way she was played, it never seemed like she thought he killed that girl. She handled herself really well in court, and I thought she had great chemistry with both Riz Ahmed and John Turturro.
  • Naz’s parents. Poorna Jagannathan and Peyman Moaadi play Naz’s parents. When they find out what happened to their son, they try what they can to help him, it’s a bit harder because he’s not a minor, but his father especially is on his side the entire way. His father has his own issues to deal with with his business partners, because Naz took the cab, the other two drivers want to press chargers in order to get the car released to them but Salim is loyal to his son. They have to deal with their younger son being bullied due to the news reports about his older brother. His mother seems to have a harder time with everything. It’s not hard to tell that she is beginning to doubt her son. I think both actors play these parts so well, to see the confusion on their faces when the lawyers try to explain things to them, the way they talk to their son and how they try to help him. They help add more emotion to the situation.
The Directing. The way the direction was handled, oh my goodness. There were so many good shots in certain scenes. Every time there was a good one, I would remark about it. There’s a great shot of Naz in the holding cell, a shot where he’s talking to the Detective but their on opposite sides of the bars. Man, so many great shots.
The story. So this story is interesting. Naz is preparing to go to a party but his friend (who drives) pulls out last minute, he ends up trying to go by taking his dad’s taxi. He ends up accidentally picking up this girl, they hit it off and he ends up going back to her apartment with her. He at first seems a bit unsure about drinking and engaging in the drugs she offers, but he gives in and they end up hooking up. It really picks up with him the next day, he wakes up downstairs in the kitchen and when he goes back to her, he finds her dead in her bed. He freaks out and runs. That moment is where the mistakes just start snowballing and the story takes this turn, that makes it so hard to stop once it gets started. It’s so detailed and told carefully, that I think the emotional stress takes over. The story isn’t necessarily new but the way it’s told… it adds a whole new feeling.
Naz’s Arc.  I think it’s really interesting to see how he changes over the course of the show. In the beginning, his innocence is very much presence in his entire body. The way he holds himself, the look in his eyes. It’s pretty amazing really. But by the end of the show, his posture has changed due to his time in Riker’s. He starts off by slouching a lot when we see him in holding etc, but by time the show is over, he even walks differently.
Cons:
The ending. This is not really a hit at the miniseries itself because this probably happens quite a lot. But I was not satisfied with the ending, things are found out, and we never see what happens with them. I guess you can say that we can infer due to what we saw them doing last, but it wasn’t enough for me. It’s still a great ending but it left such a bad taste in my mouth due to me feeling dissatisfied.
Cliche. I do think in some instances, the outcome and story is a bit cliche. How things were handled turned out just how I thought it. I mean, I was stressed out while watching the show, it definitely keeps you on edge but I do think there are a lot of cliche moments.
Overall, I loved this mini series. I was so stressed out watching this that I couldn’t stop. I watched it in two days I think. The characters were so interesting, I was rooting for Naz the entire time, though because he’s a well written character, he started to change due to his circumstances. His situation made him a different person, some aspects for the better and some for them worst. I thought that was handled so well. The drama was intense, soooo stressed! The direction was fantastic, the music was great and emotional, I think all of the actors did their jobs well and made their characters interesting. I do think the story is a touch cliche and I did not appreciate the ending, but that’s more of a person thing. But I still loved it.
Rating: 4.70 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Night Of? Remember, it’s a mini series, 8 episodes. Check it out and let me know what you think, see if you get as stressed out as I was.
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