Night Moves

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"Maybe he would find the girl... maybe he would find himself."
  • R
  • 1975
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 7.1  (17,421)
  • 82

Night Moves is a neo-noir thriller directed by Arthur Penn and starring Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, and Edward Binns. The film follows former football player and private eye Harry Moseby (Hackman) as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl, Delly Grastner (Melanie Griffith), the daughter of fading Hollywood actress Arlene Iverson (Janet Ward). Moseby's investigation takes him deep into the seedy underworld of Los Angeles, where he encounters a cast of shady characters and learns that nothing is as it seems.

The film opens with a scene of Moseby tracking down a cheating husband, which serves to establish his skills as a private investigator. Shortly thereafter, he is hired by Arlene Iverson to find her missing daughter, who has run away from home to be with her boyfriend in the Florida Keys. Moseby's investigation takes him to the Keys, where he encounters a variety of strange characters, including the boyfriend's wealthy and eccentric family, a pilot who smuggles illegal immigrants, and an alcoholic ex-actress who is friends with Delly. As Moseby delves deeper into the case, he begins to unravel a web of deceit and betrayal, and his own personal life begins to unravel as well.

One of the most striking aspects of Night Moves is its slow, deliberate pace. The film takes its time to establish characters and set up the mystery, and it is only in the second half that the tension and suspense really start to build. This deliberate pacing can be frustrating at times, but it also allows for a greater sense of immersion in the story and characters. Another standout element is the cinematography, which is frequently stunning. The film makes excellent use of its Florida locations, with many scenes set against the backdrop of the ocean or the swamps.

One of the key themes of Night Moves is the idea of personal and societal decay. Moseby is a man whose life is falling apart - his marriage is failing, his career is stagnant, and he is haunted by a tragic event from his past. As he investigates Delly's disappearance, he encounters a variety of characters whose lives are similarly falling apart. These characters are emblematic of a wider social decay, as the film suggests that the American Dream is a myth and that society is crumbling from within.

At the heart of Night Moves is Gene Hackman's performance as Harry Moseby. Hackman delivers a nuanced, complex turn that avoids the private-eye clichés of the genre. Moseby is a flawed, sometimes unpleasant character, but he is also sympathetic in his struggles to make sense of a world that has let him down. Jennifer Warren is also excellent as Paula, a former girlfriend of Moseby's who becomes involved in the case. Paula is a fascinating character in her own right, and Warren brings depth and nuance to her portrayal.

Overall, Night Moves is a well-crafted, engrossing thriller that rewards viewers who are willing to invest in its deliberate pacing and complex characterizations. While it may not be a perfect film, it is certainly one that deserves to be better known and more widely appreciated. If you're a fan of neo-noir or slow-burning thrillers, Night Moves is definitely worth checking out.

Night Moves is a 1975 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 82.

Night Moves
Where to Watch Night Moves
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (17,421)
  • Metascore