My middling review of "Night Moves" by Kelly Reichardt

Glib reviews of recent DVD/Blu Ray releases.

- Directed by Kelly Reichardt

This is not your father’s ‘Night Moves,’ that one is an under appreciated Arthur Penn flick with Gene Hackman. Both do crucially involve boats though.

I wanted to like this film a bit more than I did. As a big fan of Reichardt’s films in general, I was looking forward to this quite a bit. It may be though my least favourite of the bunch, but that by no means says it’s a bad film, just not quite as good as the previous three films. If you like creepy atmospheric slow paced gorgeously shot in Oregon kind of movies, you will dig this.

Jesse Eisenberg is at his broodingest best, here, you barely ever see under his hooded eyes, he only ever really expresses emotions over the things he perceives with horror, like the dead deer he moves from the edge of the highway to save the dead doe the dignity of not getting run over again and again, at least. The basic plot has Jesse (as Josh, commune living organic farmer by day, eco-activist -the rest of the time) meeting up with slightly peppy-ier Dakota Fanning (Dena) but just as angry at the way the planet is being destroyed. They are joined by older beerier activist and former marine demolition guy and all round Bro, Peter Sarsgaard (named Harmon.)

They plan to blow up a dam, (and garner some sympathy for their cause?) and the three of them sip beer, brood and drive the Oregon countryside a lot. Fanning has a nice couple of scenes with fertilizer salesman and cameo maestro James Legros. All the actors do their best with the very minimalist scenario and dialogue. The film is more about how people deal or don’t deal with the repercussions of their actions, and of course blowing up a dam has repercussions.

The whole thing doesn’t quite have the sense of gravitas it might have, as the third act gets more predictable than I was hoping for. That said, what does happen, not to spoil it, is done with  a great creepy dark chase scene in a bath house. It’s a weirdly claustrophobic movie for a picture that mostly takes place outside, or in farmhouses. I am kind of of two minds about rating the film. There was a lot to like, if like me you dig slow moving thoughtful, poetic, literary flicks; but, it just didn’t quite deliver the story beats it needed along with the atmosphere.... Definitely worth a rental for Reichardt fans, but not a good entry point into the canon, I’d go with wendy and Lucy, to introduce folks to Reichardt.

6.8888 great driving scenes at the end, that convey character growth much better than the previous murderous cliche anti-climax in the final act outta 10


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