Film Review: Night Moves

Night Moves

Night Moves features an interesting enough premise, but this is let down by the lacklustre execution.

Environmentalist Josh wants to make an impact. Along with his girlfriend Dena and friend Harmon, Josh plans to blow up a dam…

Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves is a drama about the environmentalists rather than the environment. The film concentrates on three main characters and their reaction to their plan and its after effects.

Night Moves toddles along at a rambling pace. The film never quite manages any real peaks. There are a few tense moments, but these are not powerful enough to compensate for the rest of Night Moves. The second half of the film in particular lacks momentum.

The atmosphere is never really persuasive enough. There are certain points in the film which indicate a shift in feeling, but these do not permeate universally. Night Moves would have worked better with a meatier plot.

Environmental aspects of the film act as a catalyst for action to unfold rather than dominant themes. The focus is on the how and its impact, rather than the why. As a result, Night Moves concentrates on the actions and reactions of Josh, Dena and Harmon more than anything else. The characters needed to be more compelling in order for the film to work. Some more character development would have been welcome.

Performances in Night Moves are fine. There is not that much for Dakota Fanning or Peter Sarsgaard to get their teeth into. Jesse Eisenberg is decent as Josh.

Ultimately, Night Moves is a dull film. There is not enough in the film for audiences to engage with.

Night Moves is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013.