Night Moves (2013 film)

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Night Moves
Night moves poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Produced by Saemi Kim
Neil Kopp
Chris Maybach
Anish Savjani
Rodrigo Teixeira
Written by Jonathan Raymond
Kelly Reichardt
Starring Jesse Eisenberg
Dakota Fanning
Peter Sarsgaard
Music by Jeff Grace
Cinematography Christopher Blauvelt
Edited by Kelly Reichardt
Maybach Film Productions
Film Science
Tipping Point Productions
RT Features
Distributed by Cinedigm
Release date
  • August 31, 2013 (2013-08-31) (Venice)
  • May 30, 2014 (2014-05-30)
Running time
113 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $788,160[2]

Night Moves is a 2013 American drama film directed by Kelly Reichardt and written by Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, and James LeGros. The film follows three radical environmentalists who plot to blow up a dam. It was shown in the main competition section of the 70th Venice International Film Festival,[3][4] at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival[5] and at 2013 Deauville American Film Festival, where it won Grand Prix of the festival.[6]


Radical environmentalists Josh and Dena buy a boat and tow it long-distance to meet Harmon, an ex-Marine. The three buy fertilizer, assemble a bomb and load it onto the boat, planning to bomb a dam they believe is harming the environment. At night, they take the boat to the dam, arm the bomb, and escape. After the explosion, Harmon says goodbye and drives away. Josh and Dena are stopped by the police, but evade suspicion.

Josh returns to the farm where he lives and works. The other people living on the farm discuss the explosion; the media reports that a man who was camping near the dam is missing. Harmon calls Josh and tells him that Dena is worried. Concerned that she will go to the police, Josh agrees to talk to her. Dena admits her feelings of guilt and, when pressed by Josh, does not rule out talking to the police. Harmon tells Josh that Dena needs to be silenced.

The other people living on the farm suspect Josh of involvement with the bombing and ask him to leave. He learns that the missing man drowned in the flood caused by the explosion. Knowing that Dena will talk to the police, he surprises her at the spa where she works; he tries to warn her not to talk, but she attacks him and runs. He finds her hiding in one of the saunas, where he strangles her to death.

Josh calls Harmon in tears to tell him that Dena is dead. Harmon tells Josh to disappear and never contact him again. Josh destroys his phone, then drives to a camping supplies store, where he applies for a job.



Edward R. Pressman Film filed a lawsuit in September 2012, demanding that filming cease because of too many similarities to Edward Abbey's novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, planned to be adapted into an authorized film by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. The lawsuit charged:

By way of example only, both works feature the targeting of a dam for destruction by means of ammonium fertilizer-laden boats. In the Novel, the principal bomb-maker is a beer-guzzling veteran who served overseas as a Green Beret, where he acquired his knowledge of explosives. The bomb-maker in Night Moves is a beer-guzzling veteran who served overseas as a U.S. Marine, where he acquired his knowledge of explosives. Both the Novel and Night Moves also feature a 20-something woman who starts out as a companion of another member of the group but develops a sexual relationship with the bomb-making veteran, despite his initial objections to her participation in the group's illegal activities.[7][8]

The case was resolved through "negotiations behind the scenes", according to The Hollywood Reporter, and the action was dismissed on February 1, 2013.[9]


Night Moves received positive reviews, currently holding an 86% "certified fresh" rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 143 reviews; the consensus states: "A uniquely character-driven thriller with a finely composed cast and some outstanding direction from Kelly Reichardt, Night Moves bolsters its thought-provoking themes with compelling drama."[10] On Metacritic, based on 36 critics, the film has a 75/100 rating, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[11]


  1. ^ "NIGHT MOVES (15)". Soda Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. July 22, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Night Moves (2014) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Venezia 70". labiennale. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Venice film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian. London. July 25, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Toronto film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian. London. July 23, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ "'Night Moves' Wins Deauville Grand Prize". Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  7. ^ Gardner, Eriq (September 14, 2012). "Producer Launches Legal War Over New Eco-Terrorist Film Starring Jesse Eisenberg". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  8. ^ Patten, Dominic (September 15, 2012). "Night Moves Director, Producers, UTA Sued By Edward Pressman & Edward Abbey Widow For Copyright Infringement". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ Eriq Gardner (February 7, 2013). "Hollywood Docket: Oksana Baiul v. NBC; 'Deer Hunter' Oscar; Joe Pesci's Lawsuit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Night Moves". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Night Moves Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 

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