Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning star alongside Peter Sarsgaard in this explosive environmental espionage thriller which held a press screening at the London Film Festival last week.
The trio portray a group of radical eco-activists who plot to bomb and destroy a hydroelectric dam along an Oregon river in an act of defiance to the consumer driven and detrimental attitude of Mankind. The consequences of such actions however, begin to take the group on a far more sinister journey.
Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves, should be championed as an example of how to make an independent feature look and feel so inspiringly professional and polished. It truly is a thriller designed for the 21st century where awareness of the welfare of our environment and planet is unprecedented as well as activity to preserve our world. It is a very persuasive piece and although appears to be merely documenting the weekend sabotage plot, upon more thorough inspection, the film itself shows a lot of criticism towards the capitalist nature of the western World. In spite of this, we cannot merely assume Reichardt to be an ‘eco-warrior’ herself as there is also a sense that the trio’s attempts are all in vain, or that any attempt to change the way of the World now would just simply be a case of ‘too little, too late’.
…a spiritual journey towards transgression…
Reichardt has shown through her previous films (Wendy & Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff) that she arguably has an obsession with the state of Oregon, as well as depicting characters who are on a journey of some kind, usually predominantly part of the younger generation. Night Moves further adds to this trend, with the central three characters being on a spiritual journey towards transgression arguably, as well as also being set in Oregon.
The characters of Josh (Eisenberg), Dena (Fanning) and Harmon (Sarsgaard) are given little back story, so little that a character profile would probably be a sentence long for each of the characters, but they are developed throughout the features 112 minute running time. This mystery adds to this idea of espionage which is set up by the film’s subject matter and developed further by the tension building score by Jeff Grace.
…balanced out with some solid performances from Eisenberg and Fanning…
The setting of the autumn fits perfectly in this film which is one of its finest features. Christopher Blauvelt’s cinematography exploits the fall scenery to create some truly beautiful frames. However the setting of autumn is also perfect as it adds to this metaphor of decay which the three activists are working on preventing.
Overall, there really is not much wrong with Night Moves, and a hell of a lot which is truly genius, despite maybe the weak characterisation in the writing process, this is balanced out with some solid performances from Eisenberg and Fanning with a comedic and welcome light-hearted performance from Sarsgaard’s Harmon. Perhaps the greatest compliment to give this film is its ability to make this reviewer sit back and think at some of the tragic Human actions that have been to the detriment of this planet’s welfare.