The reviews are in, they are glowing, and I agree with them, but I am here to tell you that the new eco-terrorism thriller, Night Moves, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard did not impress the audience at the Biennale.
When Eisenberg entered with Fanning, dressed in a gorgeous sparkly blue gown, the crowd went wild, including me, since for a reason that I still don’t understand, I and a few others were allowed to walk across the red carpet at the Sala Grande and wait for them to enter from there.
Upon taking their balcony seats, the director, Kelly Reichardt and the stars were met with enthusiastic applause. The movie began, and I kind of forgot about the everybody else there be because I was in the loser seats, way down front in the second row (Italians prefer sitting back away from the screen).
When it was over, I waited for the thunderous approval that I was prepared to take part in, but it didn’t come. As the credits rolled weak hand clapping gave way to more weak hand clapping and the sound of theater doors opening to let people escape.
There wasn’t any booing, but it was clear that the audience was not impressed, and the stars were surprised and disappointed. Though Eisenberg and Reichardt braved the lack of enthusiasm and smiled the smiles that people smile when they don’t know what the hell is going on, Dakota scurried away from her seat like Cinderella from the ball.
I felt bad for them.
The movie is wonderful, and I’m not sure why this, mostly Italian, audience didn’t care for it. It’s the story of a rich young woman (Fanning), who plots with an organic farmworker (Eisenberg) and an ex-Marine/ex-con (Sarsgaard) to blow up a dam in an act of radical activism. All angles are explored, from the earnest however misguided passion of the young people for their cause, to the fallout of the crime, to consequences of naive idealism.