Arthur Penn, USA, 1975, 100 min.
Something is strange about Night Moves. It starts off on a familiar foot. An experienced private investigator, blunted from years on the job, gets a pretty straightforward case. Meanwhile, his marriage is falling apart.
Gene Hackman fits the role nicely. His character is a little world-weary. Experienced, but a good-natured guy. He was an ex-football player and Hackman carries himself with a dominating physical presence when needed.
He gets entangled in the lives of a runaway young girl (a very young and free Melanie Griffith) and the strange group of characters that surround her. This is where the film takes an odd detour, allowing Hackman to spend time with them and explore other issues unrelated to the case.
The third act kicks the film into high gear when he sees that things he thought were finished were really just beginning. I say that in more ways than one. It’s an odd movie with some great action scenes, great dialog, and good performances. It’s an almost surreal film that is worth seeking out.