Director: Kelly Reichardt
Each film Reichhardt makes is stark but mysterious, amplifying nuanced emotions by keeping their heads to the ground of the human experience. Night Moves (which has nothing to do with Bob Seger no matter how much you hum the song to yourself) is Reichardt taking another half-inch towards a more conventional film, something for better or worse depending on who’s asked.
Jesse Eisenberg is Josh, an extremist environmentalist uniting with two other like-minded warriors, the charitable Dena (Dakota Fanning) and ex-Special Forces Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), as they plan to blow up a dam in order to make a statement about energy consumption. Each with their own uniquely manifesting kinds of paranoia, they collaborate to bring down the water wall, but discover the consequences are far more haunting than expected.
This feels like an odd hybrid for Reichardt. Even Meek’s Cutoff, which was out of Reichardt’s stomping grounds if only for period costuming, contained grueling and delicious ambiguities that would drive a lot of audiences mad. Old Joy was a movie about a lot that does almost nothing. Night Moves makes many more obvious motions. There are still serene, simple snapshots that feel like you’re dropped into a slow moving snap or reality, but there’s a lot of more immediate and daunting conflict than her audiences may expect, especially in a tense coin toss for the second half. But just because it’s a median doesn’t mean it’s not a sweet spot, as it’s an interesting vantage of a film about a big bomb. (Zack Kotzer)
Sunday, September 15th, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 9:00pm