Former football player and present private detective Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as an aging Hollywood actress whose only major roles came ... See full summary »
A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.
This, the second adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel, is much closer to the source text than the original - Murder, My Sweet (1944), which tended to avoid some of the sleazier parts of ... See full summary »
Former football player and present private detective Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as an aging Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to being married to a studio mogul wants Moseby to find and return her stepdaughter. Harry travels to Florida to find her, but he begins to see a connection with the runaway girl, the world of Hollywood stuntmen, and a suspicious mechanic when an unsolved murder comes to light. Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
During the first hour not much happens in this movie. A two-bit private investigator named Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman), who has problems with his wife, goes in search of a runaway sixteen year old girl. Then, after about an hour into the story, one of the characters dies. And the plot picks up. Yet, even with this major story event, the film never really takes off.
The main problem with "Night Moves" is the script. I think they tried to make Harry Moseby, himself, the main focus of the film, and make the PI mystery strictly ancillary. A lot of time is spent on Harry: his personality, his problems, his general outlook, and so on. An enormous amount of time is wasted on Harry's marital troubles.
Meanwhile, the rather complex mystery element gets relatively little screen time, with plot elements left unexplained at the end. When you mesh a character study with a complicated murder story, the result is likely to be a patchwork of this and that, a film that comes across as indecisive about its overall intent.
Visually, the film has a very made-for-TV look and feel. Its 1970's era setting is clearly apparent. Background music sounds cheap, canned, and nondescript.
"Night Moves" may be a great movie for fans of Gene Hackman, who does a nice job in his role. Indeed, I would describe the film as a Gene Hackman cinematic vehicle. All other characters orbit Hackman's character, and exist solely to give Harry Moseby a reason to exist.
But I was more interested in the film's mystery element, and that was left muddled, convoluted, and poorly plotted. About the best I can say for "Night Moves", apart from Hackman's good performance, is that there is some technically well-done stunt work near the end, involving a small plane on pontoons.
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