"You said no one would get hurt!" -Dena
I was not particularly excited going in to see this one but I was certainly interested, Night Moves is another of those movies that premiered a year ago at the Toronto Film Festival that are only now getting released in my country though this one has also taken a while to get it's release in the U.S. It was a year ago then that two films premiered at "TIFF" that stared Jesse Eisenberg, one of them was The Double and the other one was this one, both received good reviews, The Double continued to get it's share of talk while this one kind of was forgotten, still though I remembered the good early buzz that had continued throughout it's promotion so I still went ahead and saw it.
Night Moves is Directed by Kelly Reichardt and it stars Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg, Alia Shawkat, Peter Sarsgaard, Katherine Waterston, James LeGros and Griffin Newman. " Three radical environmentalists coming together to execute the most intense protest of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam-the very source and symbol of the energy-sucking, resource-devouring industrial culture they despise."
Night Moves is not a picture that I loved, I didn't it's no doubt flawed and I can see many getting way of this one but I got to say that this is a good little film that's being underseen. I am not familiar with director of the movie, I had heard about some of her pictures but she seems to be someone who divides audiences and I guess this is another picture that will divide audiences. It will not break audiences because it's weird or too complicated but because it's too simple and many will probably find it uninteresting and boring.
Though the movie certainly has a slow pace I would disagree with those who say it is boring though I got to say that I would understand those people too because I feel there's a lack of character development. I'm not saying they should have gone with some cheap cliched sh*t and put up a background on the characters but they could have made a bit more effort. We are never truly able to understand these guys, their motivations seem awfully weak, they are basically people who want to protect the environment and all that jazz but the fact is that the movie's tone is much bleaker, these characters are completely alienated, especially Jesse's and we never get the sense of why. They basically are acting like terrorists doing some "Mickey Mouse" job that doesn't really have a great deal of importance in the big scheme of things but they take it like they are revolutionizing the world and I think that made it kind of confusing for the audience.
It was also confusing what happens afterwards, I mean was it really that surprising that someone got injured or killed, I mean that blew up a f*cking dam like tough guys but then they couldn't handle the consequences of their job that was ultimately successful. I mean this collapsing of the characters in the afterwards of the job is certainly an interesting character study on guilt, on fear and on redemption and I think it's handled quite beautifully but I still I couldn't help but to feel confused. It's kind of a paradox because that made me feel confused but it also helped me relate with the characters because they are no big timers they are just normal people, with good intentions and a heart and it's very interesting to their reacting to the consequences or their actions, their reactions aren't from a gangster where he doesn't feel anything, this the way probably a normal person would react.
The film takes it very slowly but then again it's never boring even though the movie is never really exciting or thrilling it's always at least engaging and an interesting watch and certainly quite tense to. It's a very intense film with doubt and I got to applaud the director for creating such a mood where you feel trapped, claustrophobic, very gloomy and heavy. It's a very simple story with few twists in it, very straight forward and there are not a great many deal of surprises but again I say the movie is always very tense and there's quite an emotional complexity to it all.
The performances certainly helped. Peter Sarsgaard is such a great actor, very underrated, good in everything he's been and unfortunately he's face doesn't bring audiences and because of that he usually is not given big roles, here he does have a good little role that he plays well, not a great deal of showy scenes where he lets loose his talent but still worth mentioning. Dakota Fanning is still seen as a child by many, such as myself, but the fact is that she's already taking big roles such as this one with a performance that I'm not going to lie, impressed me. She's great in this though she's not the star of the movie. The star of the film is Academy Award Nominee, Jesse Eisenberg, who gives he's best performance since The Social Network. What a good performance, very contained performance, as a seemingly shy, quiet, lonely, alienated young fella. He almost reminded me of Travis, this guy is really quite sick, very paranoid, it seems like he's always cooking up something and I mean those last 25 minutes just showcase Eisenberg's talent, he here proves that The Social Network wasn't just luck.
Night Moves is a simple yet beautifully made picture, with a slow pace but gut wrecking intensity at times and performances that alone are worth your while, it also raises up some interesting questions like "when do legitimate convictions truly demand illegal violent behavior?" and a good meditation on consequences when it comes to political extremist acts. See it!