Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Night Moves": Activists Plot Against a Bridge, Each Other 

Wednesday, Jun 4 2014
Comments

Director Kelly Reichardt and writing partner Jon Raymond expand their singularly spartan field guide to off-the-grid Oregonians. Here Reichardt, the maker of Meek's Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy, applies her characteristically laconic style to an ostensibly conventional movie plot about three environmental activists planning to blow up an Oregon hydroelectric dam. It's best not to reveal what happens, but be forewarned that Night Moves places its emphasis differently than the average suspense thriller would, with the result being a two-part study of movie tension: first the tactics, then the guilt. In what will likely prove the greatest point of contention about this movie's merits, Reichardt prioritizes her characters — played superbly by Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard — without ever letting us fully get our bearings on them. Thus we may take no comfort on the grand matter of volatile interactions between humans and the natural world, or for that matter between humans and each other. Eisenberg emerges as the central figure, yet also paradoxically the most marginal; he has great intuition about the nature of detachment, and glowers through the film with pinched, inscrutable intensity. Maybe the only unambiguous takeaway from Night Moves is the masterful, unhurried clarity with which it advances through its setup — the thrill that comes from vital independent filmmakers, including a cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt and composer Jeff Grace, working together at the top of their game.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

Bio:
SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"