NZIFF – Our Picks – Night Moves
Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning are eco-activists in Kelly Reichardt’s skillful political thriller set in a world of shifting loyalties and tensely debated ethics.
Three environmental activists join forces to plot industrial sabotage, but the real peril kicks in when they separate. Writer/director Kelly Reichardt follows her slyly revisionist wagon-train movie Meek’s Cutoff with a tense political thriller, imbuing the genre with her perfectly honed style: observant, character-driven, beautifully shot and laden with ambiguity.
“A memorably quiet, unsettling tale of conspiracy and paranoia. It takes us some time to understand what makes temporary allies of jittery Josh (Jesse Eisenberg), Portland, Ore.-style alterna-chick Dena (Dakota Fanning) and genial rural recluse Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), beyond it being a mission of considerable danger and secrecy. When things don’t go exactly as planned, however, the three react very differently to the resulting fallout, becoming possibly greater threats to one another than the police or FBI personnel pursuing them. While still spare by mainstream standard, this is easily Reichardt’s most accessible work, carrying the observational strengths of Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy, and Old Joy over to a genuinely tense story that actually goes somewhere.” — Dennis Harvey, San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Reichardt takes this volatile story and handles it with care and precision, as if transporting unstable nitroglycerin. Night Moves, on balance, is the perfect name for a film that walks in shadow; a hushed and coiled thriller in which the characters struggle to find the line between civilisation and nature, conviction and crime…” — Xan Brooks, The Guardian