Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Overlooked Movies: Night Moves

"It was a wandering daughter job."

For most of the way, Night Moves is an entertaining private-eye movie.  Gene Hackman is very good as Harry Moseby, who's looking for the wandering daughter (Melanie Griffith) of a former movie actress.  He's also investigating his own wife and discovers that she's having an affair.  Harry's too devoted to his work, it seems, and he's like many  of the private-eyes you read about in books.  He has to follow his investigations to the end.  He wants to know the answers, all of them.  It's an obsession with him.

He finds the wandering daughter in Florida, with her father, but there are other things going on, too.  Harry wants to know about them.  The deeper he delves into the case, the more it appears that everything he thinks he knows is wrong.  He does return the daughter to California, but she's killed in an apparent accident.  Harry goes back to Florida, and . . . I'll be darned if I know.  I've seen this movie twice now, and I still can't figure out the ending.  I'm pretty sure Harry doesn't have everything figured out, either.  I know what happens, and so does Harry, but a lot of it doesn't make any sense, at least to me.  I've never even figured out if Griffith's death is an accident or not.

That doesn't mean this isn't a very good movie.  The acting is topnotch all the way, and the story's a good one right up until the end.  If you have it figured out, let me know.

11 comments:

Deb said...

I've only seen this once, but I too was baffled by the ending. Perhaps the writers were aiming for that classic noir ending, but were unable to pull all the threads together.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I rented this for Jackie a few years ago as she had never seen it, and enjoyed it again. (Melanie was something else then.) But yes, the ending is a muddled mess.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Now I have to watch it again. Although I have found I was a lot smarter forty years ago,.

Anonymous said...

Summer before last I went on a Gene Hackman binge and watched a bucketful of his movies... Runaway Jury (for the 1st time), Get Shorty, The French Connection ( I watched it a few times that summer), Mississippi Burning, Bite the Bullet, The Conversation and Night Moves. I think Harry Caul is one of the best characters ever committed to screen but I also really enjoyed meeting Harry Moseby.

- d middleton

George said...

I haven't seen NIGHT MOVES but I'll find a copy and see if I can figure out the ending.

Don Coffin said...

Not as good, in my opinion, as Hackman's other PI movie--The Conversation. But this is still a really good one (although the ending is strange).

Cap'n Bob said...

Relax, Bill, it's Chinatown.

Susan said...

Cap'n Bob & P.I. Bill... Loved Chinatown/Have no idea how it Ended...😱

Gary R. said...

I'm still working on who killed the chauffeur in THE BIG SLEEP.

Toby O'B said...

Did you ever read "Suspects" by film critic David Thompson? It was one of the early influences that got me into crossover fiction. By the end, Harry Moseby plays a role in the series of biographical sketches of movie characters who are all somehow linked to each other....

Here's a quick rundown of it from "Thrilling Detective"

http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv25.html

Bill Crider said...

Yes, great book.