The environment must be saved, the world must be stopped from going to hell. And quickly. That’s the opinion of the three young activists in Night Moves. Dena (Dakota Fanning), Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and former marine Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) feel compelled to act. They buy a speedboat and 500 pounds of artificial fertilizer.
Director Kelly Reichardt follows their project with surgical precision. She shows how difficult it is to buy so much artificial fertilizer in one go, how the threesome load the heavy sacks aboard their boat, how they launch the boat and how they motor towards their target in almost complete silence, while the audience hears the subtle dreamlike music of Jeff Grace. The camera tracks Reichardt’s characters with great elegance. The plot builds subtlety and carefully, working towards the climax. The result is magnificent cinema; moral ambiguity and an abundance of understated, nail-biting tension.
The attack succeeds, but the consequences are unforeseen and far-reaching. And later, back on the ecological farm where one of them lives, fear and mistrust set in. For Josh in particular the nervous tension is almost unbearable. With his panicky glances, he is a volcano on the verge of an inevitable and devastating eruption.
Night Moves is a clever, atmospheric thriller played out in natural surroundings that seem to heighten the drama. This is a superbly acted film that raises moral questions and as such provides an insight into the world of activists and idealists in the US today. (AB)
On Tuesday September 2nd the film will be followed by a short introduction and a discussion led by a member of Doorbraak, a Wageningen-based social justice movement, about moral dilemmas and contemporary activism. Further details will be posted on our website, and will appear in our newsletter and on Facebook.