Review of "Night Moves (DVD)"

published 29/11/2016 | thedevilinme
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Night Moves (DVD)

Night Moves (DVD)

Star – Jessie Eisenberg
Genre – Drama> Thriller
Run Time – 113 minutes
Certificate – 15
Country – USA
Awards – 2 Wins & 2 Nominations
Amazon – £5.99 DVD Blue Ray £8.99
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I think most of us agree that protestors are rather annoying, especially when they claim to protest on our behalf. One mans clubbed seal is another mans food for two months. The Black Lives Matter group that blocked the runway were anything but, all white, well educated - and at the posh universities where black people are not that welcome. These people were professional protesters, involved in all manner of causes, anything to avoid work and responsibility. Next year it will be stop fracking or something else for that lot. Eco warriors tend to be the most pompous and middle-class of all, blocking roads and airports for pollution reasons yet flying all around the world backpacking the year before, and after, OK for them to chill in Bali and India for the winter but not for us to fly to Majorca. The word hypocrites come to mind, the topic for this rather well received but overrated eco warrior drama that wasted the acting talent of Jessie Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning.

It’s from interesting indie director Kelly Reichardt that bought us the intense Meeks Cut Off, the quirky Old Joy and Wendy & Lucy, a female director that rewards female characters and actress in her films and tackles the unseen anxieties they suffer around men and machismo.


Jesse Eisenberg ... Josh
Dakota Fanning ... Dena
Peter Sarsgaard ... Harmon
Alia Shawkat ... Surprise
Logan Miller ... Dylan
Kai Lennox ... Sean
Katherine Waterston ... Anne
James Le Gros ... Feed Factory Clerk
Traber Charles Burns ... Felix
Autumn Nidalmia ... Mable
Barry Del Sherman ... Corser


Eco Activists Josh (Eissnberg), who lives in a farm commune, and Dena (Dakota Fanning), a new age masseur in the nearby town, buy a boat and tow it long-distance to meet a man called Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), an ex-Marine. He has explosive training from Iraq and the trio plan to blow up a dam which they believe is harming the environment and fish stocks. They will do it at night so not to harm innocent people.

Josh hands Dena $400 to buy 500lbs of ammonia nitrate fertilizer from an out of town garden center, the excuse that its needed at the commune to not raise concerns with the manager, finally agreeing to give it to her as she is white and not a Muslim.

The plan is for the trio to assemble a big bomb and load it onto the boat. At night, they take the boat to the dam, arm the bomb, and escape. The plan goes surprisingly well and after the explosion, they split up and go their separate ways and agree not to contact each other until the heat dies down.

Josh returns to the collective where he lives and works. The other people living on the farm discuss the explosion but not suspicious of Josh, yet. But there has been a fatal complication, a man camping near the lake found dead from drowning. Harmon breaks radio silence and calls Josh and tells him that Dena is getting worried and losing her nerve. Concerned that she will go to the cops, paranoid Josh agrees to talk to her and put her at ease. It’s not working. Dena admits her feelings of guilt and when pressed by Josh she does not rule out going to the police or even the camper's family. Josh and Harmon agree something will have to be done to make things right.


Night Moves is one of those films the critics like and the public don’t. It’s a white middle-class issues movie and that is the demographic that tend to be film critics. They like films they think we ‘should’ like and care about, not what we actually like. I don’t think much of this. Its rather slow and although some thriller element as they bomb is placed it just trundles on their after and you are certainly not bothered whether they are caught or not.

As I said, Eco warriors are irritating people and so if you don’t back the characters and their issues in the film they turn you off the film. It’s always the privileged that protest against the things they have and around them and so the things we want. Save the Tiger crowd forget Tigers kill 200 Indian farmers a year. We save the fox but forget about the chickens they eat. We love pretty animals and we despise ugly ones. That separation between the critic’s approval and film fans approval shows in the rating of 86% by the critics but half that of the public rating on site of 44%. gives it a weak 60%. The issues and the unwillingness of the viewer to back selfish activist blowing up a dam kills the movie as a film experience.

It’s well acted by Eisenberg and Fanning and they do bring something to the party, Eisenberg’s gauche acting style appropriate here alongside the moody backwoods soundtrack. It succeeds when it comes to creating tension but struggles a little more with making its plot run together smoothly. There are one or two potholes when it comes to the crunch but it’s the wrong type of film to get the audience onside. It was OK but rather dull at times and lacked an intelligent argument to justify all this eco concern. Unless someone tells the world to stop having babies there is little we can do to save the environment from human consumption and greed.

RATINGS – 6.9/10.0 (10,543votes) – 86% critic’s approval – 75% critic’s approval


Special Features

-Deleted scenes-

A few

-Behind the scenes-

As dull as the film



The Independent –‘Reichardt probes away at her characters' motivations and contradictory feelings. She doesn't judge them, but makes it very clear how quickly their idealism becomes muddied once they dirty their hands with direct action’.

Site & Sound –‘Here's how good a filmmaker Kelly Reichardt is. She can pack an entire movie's worth of meaning into a sliver of onscreen space, and do it so subtly that even attentive viewers might miss the trick’.

The Mail-‘Night Moves calls us (inadvertently or not) to reconsider our definition of what's "natural." Certainly, some of the ways we've failed to care for the planet as we were charged back at the beginning have had dire consequences. Let's not ignore that’.

Milwaukee Times –‘The actors in the story give very good performances. The story is fairly solid. It is a bit subdued and there are some logical holes in it, but on the whole it is a fairly realistic scenario’

Memphis Times-‘.I'm a great admirer of Reichardt's work, but having watched 'Night Movies' twice, I have to concede that it's something of a dud’.

Urban Cinifile.-‘After a riveting first half filled with tension and one in which we are left to draw our own conclusions about details and relationships, the remainder of the film fizzles to some extent, diminishing the payoff’


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Comments on this review

  • WilliamWillis published 28/12/2016
    Not my choice at all
  • olvfrncsc published 24/12/2016
    VH :)
  • olvfrncsc published 24/12/2016
    VH :)
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Product Information : Night Moves (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: DVD

Actor(s): Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, Logan Miller

Video Category: Feature Film

Director(s): Kelly Reichardt

Classification: 15 years and over

Production Year: 2014

EAN: 5060238039420


Listed on Ciao since: 21/11/2016