Film Review – Night Moves (2013)

Night Moves - post

Title – Night Moves (2013)

Director – Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy)

Cast – Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Katherine Waterson

Plot – Environmentalist Josh (Eisenberg) teams up with kindred souls Dena (Fanning) and ex-army vet Harmon (Sarsgaard) to take down a hydroelectric dam that they see as part of a much bigger problem affecting the natural environment. The fallout of this act however will test the three people more than they had planned.

 “People are gonna start thinking. They have to”

Review by Eddie on 19/10/2015

For anyone familiar with famed indie director Kelly Reichardt’s work you know what you’re in for with Night Moves. Reichardt specialises in a sort of pondering, slow paced narrative that has seen her reach some great heights (Wendy and Lucy) and some real lowlights (Meeks Cutoff) that now with Night Moves has seen her move into an interesting new direction without losing the style that has gained her a steady stream of critical praise over her years in the industry.

This new direction we speak of is that of the eco/environmental thriller, a new sub-genre that has sprung up in recent years as the continued focus on the earth’s natural demise has been more prevalent. Reichardt’s slow burn pacing and nearly non-existent background work actually works incredibly well in setting up Moves central plot devise, that of an act of eco-terrorism in the blowing up of an energy dam.

For the first hour or so here Reichardt ratchets up the tension to an incredible level and it’s not through scripting or clever edits, merely through a methodical pacing that almost feels as if it’s playing out in real time, making the audience feel a part of whatever is about to go down. Once the films central act becomes old news the film takes on a less effective yet in the end scenes, tension raddled aspect that sees Reichardt’s cast come to the forefront.

Everyone’s favourite bundle of nervous edginess Jesse Eisenberg is front and centre here in Moves and his natural persona fits perfectly for the characters of Josh, a young man clearly dedicated yet not overly ready for the repercussions of his actions, even if they are in theory, for good. Eisenberg is ably supported by another grown up turn by Dakota Fanning who can still deliver dialogue in a unique way and Peter Sarsgaard in another one of his somewhat creepy loner roles. The lead cast of three produce an uneasy and well played out chemistry that fits this tale well and along with Jeff Grace’s moody score and Christopher Blauvelt’s stoic cinematography, creates a real unique feel to this non-conventional thriller.

Night Moves is a film too ponderous for the mass market of movie lovers yet it has a humble and effective feel to it that allows those that go along with it to be invested and on edge with what is taking place. With a cast of solid leads and with a lovely visual feel, Night Moves has a groove all to its own and while never reaching grand heights, it’s certainly a sight bit better than many of its more explosive yet idiotic thriller counterparts and a breath of fresh air for those that like their movies tinged with a slower pacing.

3 1/2 bags of fertiliser out of 5

5 responses to “Film Review – Night Moves (2013)

  1. Sterling review Eddie, I really remember enjoying the crap out of this. Especially surprising given how unlikable these three characters were. I mean, they were setting out to do good but their idealism, obviously at odds with the realities of a society that just doesn’t care about environmentalism (a real shame) was really intense and it had the potential to lose me. That slow-build you speak of kept me glued to the screen.

    • Glad your on the same page as me with this one mate. I just loved how unique it was in many ways and it just built in tension as it went along. Was an interesting cast as well, def one I’d recommend to most people even though a heap would hate it!

  2. Jesse Eisenberg’s performance is really good.
    I still remember those final scenes, when he’s sitting in his car, confused and crying.

  3. Pingback: Film Review – Certain Women (2016) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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