Night Moves (A. Penn, 1975)

Night Moves (Arthur Penn, 1975)

Night Moves is a film about a lonely man seeking self-worth, but it’s disguised as a detective story with missing people and smuggling conspiracies. The plot is actually rather unimportant. Well, the ‘who’s responsible?’ question is unimportant, but the twist-and-turn, ‘no one is who they seem’ aspect of the film is very important to help us better understand our protagonist. He’s en ex-Pro Bowl football player, and we never learn why he left the game and become a private investigator, but it’s obvious he longs for his past – probably the only time in his life he felt a strong sense of worth. Now he chases down people, trying to solve other people’s mysteries while struggling to figure out his own.

There’s a strong sense of sadness throughout the film as he deals with both personal and career issues, and the shadowed, solemn cinematography illustrates the film’s tone perfectly. Even when it seems his personal demons are exorcised, he still seeks self-worth, and as the film’s final scene indicates, his life could very well be an endless circle of longing and loneliness.  9/10


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