Night Moves Movie Review
The future Lex Luthor commits his first act of terrorism in Night Moves, a drama-thriller about three environmentalists who plot to blow up a dam. Well acted and well made, Night Moves is a worthy piece of independent fare, though similar movies have been seen many times before.
Jesse Eisenberg stars alongside Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as a young man who is driven to build a bomb, blow up a dam and deal with the consequences. Eisenberg, like the movie itself, is subtle, nuanced and spot on, though like the movie, no one is going to remember his performance a year from now.
Written and directed by Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy), Night Moves effectively builds upon itself as time progresses, though the tension remains primarily in the characters' minds. Psychological thrillers about people who do bad things and then worry about being caught have been done many times before, and better, primarily because the audience feels the paranoia as the characters do. With Night Moves, the suspense is somewhat lacking.
A better approach—though one that still wouldn't have fixed the root issue—would have been to tell the movie from the perspective of Dakota Fanning's character. Fanning is terrific and, unlike Eisenberg's, her character struggles with the morality of her actions. Eisenberg's character does not, and as a result it is hard to view him as the main protagonist.
Night Moves is a well made movie, but it doesn't contribute anything new to the genre. Furthermore, the movie doesn't exude the suspense or paranoia needed to be captivating.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.