Duration: 69 min (per episode)
The Night Of (Blu-ray) – Series Review
There are already countless movies that revolve around an innocent man or woman being sentenced to jail, or death, while they were in fact innocent. These stories often prove to be heartbreaking, or simply terrible as in many cases the innocence of someone is only proven after they have been executed or have been rotting away in jail for nearly half their life. This time we get a fairly similar story, in the form of a mini-series, which will revolve around a young boy, who is also facing life in prison for a murder he did not commit, or at least does not remember committing.
Nasir Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a seemingly normal Muslim boy, who has been raised in a fairly traditional family, albeit not in a radical sense. Nasir is a fairly good student and doesn’t really have an exciting life, safe for a party he’s been looking out to. Sadly, the night of the party, his friend, who would also be his ride to said party, cancels and thus Nasir has no other option than to remain at home. After some pondering, he decides to ‘loan’ his father’s taxi, and tries to find the party on his own, but before long he gets lost and even gets hassled by people who want to catch a ride with him. He chases out a duo, and when he tries to chase out his latest passenger, a mysterious girl, he then decides to take her to where she wants to go. They have a fun evening, and she even convinces him to take some drugs and go to her place, for some more physical action. The night turns a bit more bloody, when a few drinking games with a knife leave Andrea (Sofia Black-D’Elia) with a nasty cut on her hand. Nonetheless, she is more turned on than ever, and things indeed get physical.
When Nasir wakes up, he finds himself in another room, but decides to go to Andrea, bid her a good night and go home. When she doesn’t respond however, he turns on the light and sees her covered in blood, heavily mutilated by a knife and in a fit of panic, he decides to bolt for his cab and drive off. Sadly he forgot his keys inside, thus had to break in again to grab them, and takes the murder weapon as well, and this is when he gets spotted by someone across the street who then calls the police. To make his luck even worse, he gets arrested for a DUI and eventually gets frisked which causes the officers to find the murder weapon. Things don’t look good for Nasir, and with the evidence stacked against him, it seems he’s facing a lifetime in prison. With a small time lawyer at his side, things aren’t looking up for this young man, who claims he didn’t murder Andrea.
Overall this series maintains a fairly slow pace, but a very pleasant one at that. You’ll slowly see how Nasir’s case is being prepped, where all the evidence is seemingly stacking up against him, which would make for an easy trial. Meanwhile you’ll also see the transformation where he goes from a fairly good young man, to a true hardened inmate, simply to survive the harsh conditions in the prison where he has to remain during his trial, and probably after he is convicted. The series does its best to show what Nasir is enduring, while also putting a focus on those trying to defend him, his family and even the inspector that immediately thought he was guilty.
Even though pretty much every actor and actress does a stellar job in this short series, eventually the focus begins to lie on the characters played by Riz Ahmed, John Turturro and Amara Karan, who simply outshine the rest of the cast. Truth be told, this series has many interesting characters and it’s clear that the casting was done with care, making sure every character was matched to the person that truly brought them to life.
It wasn’t all that surprising when we noticed that this Blu-ray edition of The Night Of came without any extras at all. Overall the series stands quite tall on its own, and when the credits of the eighth, and final, episode start rolling, you will not be left with any remaining questions, thus rendering extra contents useless. Perhaps a making of, or a gag reel could have added a bit of value, but the latter may actually cause some harm to the otherwise heavy and convincible series.
The Night Of is a very interesting and enticing series about how someone’s life goes from nearly picture perfect to a complete mess. The series tries to be realistic and succeeds in that intent, not only by its realistic storyline but also its very convincing acting performances. If you’re into drama, with a good detective story that runs through the hardships of the main character, The Night Of is certainly worth spending multiple nights on.