Screenplay: Alan Sharp
Release: Warner Archive
This has been a very difficult review for me to write, but I am not sure why. Maybe it is because I feel like I should have liked this film more than I did. Or maybe because I just don’t want to, it is an average film that may be of value to you as quickly as it may not.
L.A. detective Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman) has problems. Missing persons and bedroom stakeouts are no match for his glory days as a pro football player. His wife is having a not-so-secret affair. And while sorting things out, he takes on the case of a runaway teenager that may be a lot more than he can handle.
Director Arthur Penn, who worked with Hackman on Bonnie and Clyde and Target, guides this spellbinding, first-rate thriller where solutions to murderous riddles don’t come easily. Joining Hackman and Penn are two actors just starting out on the road to stardom: James Woods and Melanie Griffith. The stars come out – and so does the excitement – when the Night Moves.
I am a fan of Gene Hackman and I don’t know anyone who is not, maybe that is why it is difficult. Growing up Gene Hackman was always one of the man’s man. Popeye Doyle in The French Connection, Norman Dale in Hoosiers, Lex Luthor, LEX LUTHOR, in Superman. Gene Hackman was a father figure who felt like a hero. Night Moves is like learning that your hero has to brush his teeth, just like you do. Something non-impressive. It hurts to say that about Night Moves, it isn’t bad, it just, is.
The movie is a fine neo-noir, a genre in which there are plenty of better films. It stars Melanie Griffith as a 15-year-old sex symbol which just made me uncomfortable. Everyone in the film does an acceptable job, but there are better options. Could you enjoy it? Sure. I am not sure if I can make a blanket recommendation for this disc.
But, like nearly all of the Warner Archive releases the film looks tremendous, sure, there are some poor effects, but that aside it looks great.
Director: 6 – Cinematography: 5 – Edit: 2 – Parity: 3 – Main performance: 7 – Else performance: 3 – Score: 5 – Sound: 6 – Story: 6 – Script: 7 – Effects: 6 – Design: 5 – Costumes: 6 – Keeps interest: 7 – Lasting: 5