Night moves

I found Night moves fascinating and compelling. It stars Jesse Eisenberg as Josh, a young who works at a sustainable agricultural cooperative in southern Oregon. Josh, along with college dropout Dena (Dakota Fanning), and ex-marine Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) are eco-terrorists who plan to blow up a hydroelectric dam. Director Kelly Reichardt shows us the small detail of their operation. Josh and Dena buy a boat and drive it to Harmon’s camper-trailler. There they discuss buying enough fertilizer to build a bomb. The idea is to fill the boat with the fertilizer, and put the boat next to the dam. One thing they never talk about is the consequences or the moral aspects of their actions. That’s because nothing is spelled out for us. We discover the plot as we are listening to their discussions. There is suspense building up because we are witnessing the details. The scene where Dena tries to buy the fertilizer is a good example. She lacks the proper ID, and is having a hard time convincing the sale clerk. But this is a slow and quiet film, with an introspective and minimalist approach. And no special effects. After the explosion, they all return to their normal lives. We follow Josh as he returns to the coop. There he learns that the dam destruction may have cost a man his life. But he keeps to himself. So much so that his co-workers are starting to suspect him. He contacts Dena, and start thinking she might go to the police. Night moves is a study on guilt and paranoia. In the second half of the film, Josh becomes suspicious, and thinks everybody knows his secret. This feels real. Eisenberg gives an impressive performance as quiet and pensive Josh. He is well supported by Fanning and Sarsgaard. The film was shot in Oregon, and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt’s beautiful work make the glorious colors of the fall season, and the lake at nighttime look ominous. This is one of the best film this year.

Rémi-Serge Gratton


Night moves


Directed by: 
Kelly Reichardt
Screenplay by: 
Jonathan Raymond
Kelly Reichardt
Jesse Eisenberg
Dakota Fanning
Peter Sarsgaard
Alia Shawkat
James Le Gros
113 min.
Rated 14A

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