Night Moves – Review
“Night Moves” starring Jessie Eisenberg (The Social Network), Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds) and Peter Sarsgaard (An Education) is the contemporary story of three American radical environmentalists living in Oregon who come together to plan and execute a terrorist plot. Their reasoning for this attack is they see a local dam as a symbol that is devouring the very organic essence from the natural and exquisite beauty of the state; literally they see the dam as something that is hydroelectrically sucking the very life force out of the Earth itself. So, with this deep conviction shared by all three the radicals; one a former Marine, the other a runaway high school dropout and the other an idealistic self-made militant, decide to act on this reverence for the natural world they seek to protect by raising the collective social awareness through an act of destructive sabotage by placing a bomb at the dam one summer night.
“Night Moves” at its core is simply an original authentic in the moment thriller with impeccable directing and flawless acting to make the audience feel both as an observing fly on the wall to the planning of the plot itself and also in having a bit of culpability to their actions as well. Once the reality of their actions kicks at a key point in the film, both audience and the radicals simultaneously become fully aware that actions such as these, as reverently honest and well-meaning in their design they may be, the aftermath of such decisions can be in-deed dangerous and felonious and wrought potentially with extreme deep and dire consequences.
This film plays less like a film that works on your basic sympathetic feelings and emotions and more like a Hitchcock hypnotic psychological haunting tale that maneuvers like the pieces on a chess board with the audience fully immersed in watching the three radicals and their every single plotting move, their every cautious conversation and their paranoid physical steps they take. And while most of us may never be so incline to do something as criminal as this trio, you still are drawn into their own emotional plight of introspection, anxiety, paranoia and contemplation, by embracing throughout the film’s 2 hours their unrelenting raw angst of “what do we do next”, especially once we see the costly weight of the chaos they created by the dam’s explosion and its devastating impact on the close knit agrarian community in which they reside.
“Night Move” is one of the rarest of rare films where the suspense is not build upon loud explosions, car chases, shootouts, shouts of profanity or cliché tough talk. No this suspense here is as real as it gets, but it executes its own brand of unnerving with a perceptible quiet and demonstrative reserve.
I love this film an awful lot and it could very well be in my top ten for the end of the year, but it may be a bit too premature for that lofty status in that we have still have six more months this year of more highly anticipated films yet to come.
Still, for sheer riveting storytelling I highly recommend this film to everyone to see. And while it is currently in limited release in this area when you do get the chance to see it, please do. Like a good unsuspecting odd title page turning novel that sometimes catches you by surprise you will not be disappointed.