TIFF 2013 Review: Night Moves
For better or worse, and for the most part it’s better, Night Moves may more appropriately be called Night Crawls. This is an especially quiet, small, and slow exercise in mental conflict, shaped with foreboding cinematography and plenty of worried looks.
The title comes from the name of the boat that a trio of environmental activists (or eco terrorists depending on where you’re standing) load up with explosives in order to blow up a dam. Led by Josh (Jesse Eisenberg), the threesome, which includes the younger Dena (Dakota Fanning) and more relaxed Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), move cautiously and remain for the most part anonymous.
We know little of their past, their motives, and their connections, but we do start to see cracks in their plan and ability to maintain a steely resolve. Kelly Reichardt’s atmospheric feature puts the climactic dam scene in the middle, building up to the act while letting the pieces fall as they may afterwards.
Sworn to part ways and lay low, the group struggles with unforeseen consequences and unexpected moral struggles. We follow Josh as he tries fall back in with friends and family while working in the Pacific Northwest, concerned that Dena’s inability to be quiet is more worrisome than his own isolated disposition.
Tempered and thoughtful, Reichardt forces you into your own moral dilemma, raising questions that don’t have any easy answers. From the very suspenseful to the exceptionally somber, with some chilling moments in between, Night Moves is decidedly and successfully unique.