In order for the earth to replenish all those good things we need
like water and food, we ultimately have to take care of it. While
there are plenty of ways to leave less of a carbon footprint on our
planet there are some of feel that more extreme measures are necessary.
is a story of three people who wanted to make a difference, but when
things go horribly wrong it turns into an understated thriller where
people are pushed to their limits and ultimate breaking points.
The tale of three radical eco activists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning
and Peter Sarsgaard) as they plot to blow up a dam. Simply meant to
perform their act of eco-terror and disappear in their own separate
directions. However as the full consequences of their actions come to
light, getting away from one another and the crime that they committed
might not be as easy as hoped.
Following director Kelly Reichardt
naturalistic and methodical style, "Night Moves" is understandably
bound to get some comparisons to "The East" from last year, but that was
essentially a chase film where as this film exists in the quieter
moments of self doubt and paranoia that these characters carry which was
so palpable and filled every frame of the screen. Littered with
fantastic photography and some freaky set pieces that evoke the likes of
Brian de Palma and Alfred Hitchcock, Reichardt builds some effective
tension that comes on slowly until it's just all around us and it's too
late to do anything but be on the edge of our seats. While her pace
following these people isn't ideal, she shows legitimate talent for
making a straight up thriller and the material helps the ensemble
achieve this goal.
Jesse Eisenberg plays right into the role as a naturally suspicious
eco-terrorist and he carries the movie with a sort of nervous energy
that makes you sympathize with him and like him all at the same time.
With Sarsgaard as the veteran activist and Fanning playing the other
side of the coin as the idyllic activist both are genuinely fine giving
some strong supporting work but it is really Eisenberg in the third act
that carries this film to that special point where everything has gone
to hell and their best intentions devolve into a pure unadulterated
survival instinct in the face of what they have done.
"Night Moves" isn't Reichardt's best, but calmly and coldly shows the
potential consequences of real world activism. Easily one of the most
engaging films that he she has ever been involved in and it makes for a
fantastic introduction into her work, because rarely is a paranoid
thriller so calm yet so exciting all at the same time.
4 out of 5 stars.
"Night Moves" opens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox tomorrow here in downtown Toronto, please check with listings for show times.