Late last month, a scheduled trip to New York happened to coincide with The Tribeca Film Festival. When I discovered this a couple of weeks before crossing the Atlantic, I immediately looked into the possibility of going to see some films and was fortunate to find the time to squeeze three in. With only six days in the greatest city on the planet, I wouldn’t have been able to justify any more than this. Tribeca was my first film festival and overall I had a positive experience. The event was well run by knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff while the locations were excellent. The cinemas themselves were less desirable however. The three screenings we went to were situated in two theatres, both multiplexes and both with very shallow seating rakes. At 6’ 3” I still struggled to see through the heads of those in front of me and was very conscious of the views I was obstructing behind. I’m not sure if this is consistent with all American cinemas but on the only other occasion that I’ve seen a film in the States, in the same city, a year before, there was no issue. Anyway, I digress.
The first film we saw was Night Moves at the AMC Loews Village 7 on 3rd Avenue. Both my girlfriend and I were excited and nervous about our first film festival experience and eagerly joined the long line outside the theatre. Night Moves is a drama with a political edge. Directed by Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff) It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as environmentalists who plan to blow up a dam in rural Oregon. The film initially reminded me of The East, thematically at least but it soon becomes apparent that this is a significantly smarter film which takes a different direction. It doesn’t bombard the audience with back story or justification for the crimes. It assumes that the audience is clever enough to understand their motivation. The central characters also remain half hidden and you’re never sure if they’re showing their real selves to each other or the audience. The planning and preparation are interesting and the execution of the dam’s destruction is incredibly tense. What follows soon after is rather predictable but the character’s transformations surprise.