Night Moves: Movie ReviewCast: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Night Moves, from the director of Meek's Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt, takes on the world of environmental activism through the eyes of three characters.
The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg is a serious faced Josh, Dakota Fanning is Deena and the ever charismatic Peter Sarsgaard is recluse Harmon, whose paths cross when they decide to take out a hydroelectric dam.
Deena is the newcomer to the active part of the ethos and her naivete signs through thanks to a performance of vim and vigour in this slow languid piece, that relies on slow measured pans and close ups. It's a stark contrast to Eisenberg's studied and almost sullen approach, which makes it hard for us to care for this protagonist.
As liberal guilt starts to permeate their lives after the dam explosion (the build up to which is considered and measured, with tension coming at the obligatory juncture on the water with the clock ticking), it's Deena who begins to fall apart and Josh who tries to hold it together before succumbing himself.
Reichardt's wanted to put together an examination of guilt, of after effects and of consequences, but it takes an extraordinarily long time to get there and Eisenberg's turn at the end isn't quite as convincing as perhaps it could be. By honing on more on the two and the build up, Reichardt builds a degree of tense interaction even if the unfolding story is as cliched as you'd expect. The strengths lie in the build up, the creeping tension and the shocking aftermath rather than anything else, but Night Moves aims for a character study and ends up more as a shadowy film that will reward only if you invest into it, rather than expecting continual bangs and whistles.