Night Moves Movie Review

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Hey, I loved Chinatown too. A year after Roman Polanski made his masterpiece, Arthur Penn came along and shat out this dreck in a sad attempt to quickly knock off what made Chinatown great.

We pick up the story with Los Angeles detective Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman), a P.I. who's hired by a wealthy woman to track down her runaway daughter (Melanie Griffith in her first speaking part and already taking off her clothes), who's run off to the Florida Keys. Almost at random, a secondary plot develops, involving a murderous movie stunt coordinator. Meanwhile, Harry's wife is cheating on him, and Harry confronts the guy on at least two different occasions.

If it sounds derivative, that's because it is. Night Moves is terribly uninspired filmmaking, and it's difficult to follow, too. Unlike Nicholson's Jake Gittes, we never get to see most of Moseby's gumshoe work. He tells us about it later, or, when he does do some flatfoot work, he beats the crap out of his suspects until they spill the info he wants. Harry isn't a P.I., he's an enforcer.

The film's terrible script is matched only by some of the most dated costumes and hairstyles you're likely to see. Made in the black pit of 1975, even Stevie Wonder would cringe at the fashions on display here.

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Night Moves Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 1975

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