Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Film Review: Night Moves

Copyright by Cinedigm
For a neo-noir, especially one dealing with home grown militants, Night Moves presents an unexpected setting. The film takes place in a beautiful countryside of the northern US, in tranquil pine forests, where everyone and everything seems peaceful, apart from the main characters, who boil with rage against modern society.

Jesse Eisenberg Dakota Fanning (who was great as a sarcastic but very young and ultimately confused Dena) and Peter Sarsgaard present three characters who desire to make a difference when it comes to the humanities attitude toward nature. Their means, unfortunately, is eerie similar to the one used by Timothy McVeigh, although their targets differ – the eco-militants in Night Moves plan to blow up a hydroelectric dam, seeing it as a monument of nature’s destruction.

One of the most important things that the movie does lies in its depictions of the characters as a part of that world. They are not lunatics or sadist, and they are definitely not broken inside. We as an audience don't get to see how they became what they are, but in their predetermined mindset, they are very stable and ideological secure (to a point). This makes them dangerous, without making them some kind of emotional strangers with whom we can't relate to.

The film, from dialogue to gorgeous shots, leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination. This was a bold move by Kelly Reichardt, who directed the movie. In the era when terrorism isn’t easily explained or presented, Night Moves doesn’t try much of both. Instead, it shows three people as they set their plan in motion, and the moments that come afterwards. But, when tension needs to be introduced, Reichardt manages to do this equally well. Night Moves is a bold film, both in narrative and delivery. Its boldness definitely paid off in the final product.

Night Moves Ending Explained
(Spoiler Alert)

This is my interpretation of the ending scene.
The audience is to believe that Josh plans to escape into the wilderness (checking out the outdoors equipment), but instead is shown that he is looking for a new job. There, he meets a young and impressionable girl, who seems eager to help him, just like Dena probably did in the past.

He wants the job in the system he despises (which also questions his true ability to stay outside of it as he fantasies), but at the same time immediately gets focused on the woman using her smartphone, which he previously mentioned as a sign of humanity’s corruption during his talks with Harmon. The ending shot, the prolonged depiction of a woman in the mirror which is looking at her mobile device is telling the audience that he is willing to do it all again, no matter the risk. The scene shows that the same sequence will repeat itself, and that Josh didn’t change in any way through his experience.