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Night Moves

Night Moves

USA 2013 - with Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, Logan Miller ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Night Moves
Genre:Drama, Thriller
Direction:Kelly Reichardt
Cinema release:14.08.2014
Production country:USA 2013
Running time:USA 2013
Rated:Approx. 112 min.

Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) leads a low-key life on an organic farm. Behind his friendly, almost stoic façade, there's a huge bubbling. He wants to make a statement, a statement against the exploitation of nature, against injustice and against the corrupt machinations of large corporations. Together with his allies Dena (Dakota Fanning) and Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) he wants to blow up a dam. The preparations go according to plan despite minor difficulties and the action can go over the stage. But then something goes wrong and for the three young activists life will never be the same again.

Night Moves is already the second film within a few months, after The East, that deals with radical environmental activists. Director Kelly Reichardt, however, is less concerned with the protest action itself. Only the preparations are shown, not the actual blasting. Reichardt refrains from any form of showmanship and instead stays very close to the protagonists. In this way, she wants to allow the viewer to enter the psyche of the young activists. What makes young people become so radicalized? What are their real goals? How much guilt can be justified by them?

The final third of the film deals with this last question. Here, Reichardt does a great job of showing how the unforeseen aftermath of the attack affects the psyches of the three involved, with a particular focus on Josh and Dena. It quickly becomes clear that the situation is threatening to escalate, adding considerable heat to the film's already oppressive atmosphere. The convincing acting of Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning then underlines this impression even more.

At its core, Night Moves is a really interesting, atmospheric and especially on a psychological level also exciting film. But Reichardt's very restrained staging also makes it a very unwieldy affair. Scenes of long silences and meaningful glances put the brakes on any form of emerging tension and make the whole thing, especially in the first half, a real test for the patience of the audience. Admittedly, this style works very well from the moment Josh, Dena and Harmon get into the boat to plant their explosive device at the dam, as here the oppressive atmosphere is completely sufficient to create a high degree of thrilling tension. But otherwise, the intellectual pretensions of the production clearly get in the way of entertainment value. And without such entertainment value, the film denies itself to a wider audience, which is a real shame given the intriguing imagery and interesting subject matter.

Lovers of brittle program cinema fare who want to explore the question of how far rigid idealism should go and how long lofty goals can be justified will certainly get their money's worth from this psychological drama. For Kelly Reichardt has directed a very intelligent thriller that has many successful facets to offer, but packages them too cerebrally to appeal to more than a small niche audience. And therefore, despite all the recognizable qualities, there is only one: worth seeing with restrictions!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "Night Moves (USA 2013)"
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