Parents' Guide to

Night Moves

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Radical-environmentalism drama is thoughtful, slightly edgy.

Movie R 2014 112 minutes
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Director Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff) is one of the smartest around, capable of telling simple stories with great stretches of moody, thoughtful exploration. A frequent criticism is that "nothing happens" in her movies, which, for a patient viewer, simply isn't true. In those quiet scenes, life itself can be found.

Night Moves is one of her most complex works yet, generating a slow-burning suspense. It focuses on characters who are hard to get at and hard to read. In one scene, Josh arrives to discover the sounds of Dena and Harmon inside a trailer giggling playfully. Are they making love? Is he jealous? Reichardt leaves these questions unanswered, using them simply to build tension. The eco-terrorist act itself is likewise confounding, not providing any kind of answer but simply more questions. What did they accomplish? Is a message more important than an idea? Most importantly, however, the concept of human life seems to trump everything.

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