Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Saarsgard

Directed by: Kelly Reichardt

Synopsis: Three radical environmentalists look to execute the protest of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam.

I reviewed a film not so long ago called The East whereby Ellen Page and friends played some radical hippie types. It wasn’t particularly memorable and was filled with overly serious, unlikeable characters. Night Moves treads much the same ground and, despite being slightly more interesting artistically, left me with much the same opinion.

I like the planet as much as the next person. It’s great and it would be amazing if we treated it a bit better. But wouldn’t the world be just as horrible if we all turned into the kind of sullen, earnest and down right miserable people in this movie? The kind of people who scowl at people who use electricity and water to make their lives more convenient. So what if I’m typing this on an iPad. It doesn’t make me a worse person than you. Get over it.

Night Moves is a film that expects us to like three characters played moodily evangelical by Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Saarsgard. Unfortunately there just isn’t anything to like about them. They have a rubbish plan to blow up a damn to save some salmon or something. They go about this plan by ruining the earth by driving pick up trucks and boats, thus making them not only irritating but also hypocritical as well.

Anyway, the plan goes wrong and the film kind of hinges on that moment. Up to that point it’s all about the plan coming to fruition and involves Jesse Eisenberg not saying much. It wasn’t too bad, there was some anticipation there at least. Post plan and the film kind of falls apart a bit, just turning into a generic thriller with not that many thrills. It’s a slow burner that doesn’t really build to any great climax. In fact, it’s more a film about three people and how they deal with the consequences of their actions. Which would be fine if I cared about them in anyway, but I didn’t.

2 clappers


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About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. Tom

    I disagree that this movie “makes” us like unlikable characters. One of the things I thought Reichardt did well (amongst a few other things, like pacing and suspense-building) was by not casting opinion on her characters. They were presented in a neutral (if not something hovering more towards negative) light, one in which we ought to not really follow in these people’s mistakes.

    On the other hand, I totally empathize with your ability to not get invested in this. Jesse Eisenberg is a huge tool, and his other “friends” here aren’t much better. They’re well-written characters ultimately and I enjoyed the movie.

  2. I’ve read a couple of mixed reviews of this one. I’m still intrigued to see it though as I usually enjoy Jessie Eisenberg’s performances. Nice review.

    • Eisenberg was basically Eisenberg in this, the same as he is in most movies (not a bad thing) so i think you may be pleased when you see it!

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