Posts Tagged ‘Peter Sarsgaard’

Night Moves (2013) | DVD | Blu release

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Writers: Jon Raymond, Kelly Reichardt

Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Fanning, Jess Eisenberg,

USA 112min  Thriller

Kelly Reichardt’s last film Meek’s Cutoff was a poetic rendering of the classic Western. NIGHT MOVES  is billed as an ‘environmental thriller’ and set in contemporary Oregon following a trio of eco-warriors raising awareness of energy consumption in the local Rogue Valley.

The tone is sombre, but don’t expect to wade through endless environmental issues: Reichardt’s treatment offers little sympathy for these characters from the outset as we watch them jostle for position and power in ‘committee’ meetings. It soon  emerges that Dena (Dakota Fanning), Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) are not the nicest people or the closest of friends either.

The first half deals with the meticulous planning of their offensive in a local beauty spot where they are at pains to keep the operation clandestine. After an unsettling start to proceedings, they complete their mission and return to their normal lives.  This is where it gets interesting and shifts in tone from drama to psychological thriller as unforeseen circumstances unleash a wave of media attention provoking unexpected reactions in Dena and Josh. While Peter Sarsgaard’s excellently chilled performance as Harmon recedes into the background, the focus switches to Dena and her gradually disintegrating personality as she draws her friends and family into the picture very much against the wishes of the others, who attempt to distance themselves with dramatic results. Tension is heightened by a skilfully taut original score from Jeff Grace (We Are What We  Are).

Reichardt weaves plenty of texture into her narrative with astute observations on the current state of American politics while her characters play out their  acutely-observed and increasingly edgy existence. Night Moves is an immersive thriller and Jesse Eisenberg’s turn as Josh stands out as a well-crafted study of paranoia and the corrosive effects of guilt.  Whether it will remain in your memory to same extent as Gene Hackman’s 1975 film of the same title, remains to be seen. MT


NIGHT MOVES comes to DVD/Blu  on 11 January 2015

Lovelace (2013)

Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

Script: Andy Belin

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone

92min    US Drama

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In this compelling account of how a vulnerable young woman becomes the porn star Linda Lovelace, there are a some dynamite performances. Amanda Seyfried takes centre stage as the delicately elfin Linda with her mop of tousled curls. The product of a dysfunctional home-life that distances her from parents (Sharon Stone is suberb as her buttoned-up, embittered mother), she is thrown into the arms of Peter Sarsgaard’s disarmingly sexy but sleazy hustler and manager, Chuck Traynor. Taking her to New York as his wife, he then peddles her legendary ‘bedroom skills’ to porn directors Gerard Damiano (Hank Azaria and Butchie Peraino (Bobby Carnevale) to create the phenomenon Deep Throat (1972): a money-spinning film that created a career for both of them and launched the era of ‘Porno Chic’, bringing pornography into mainstream popular culture.

Through a clever narrative structure, the truth behind the porn legend is gradually revealed in the second half of the film where the tone shifts from light-hearted comedy to disturbing and moving drama. We discover the extent of the abuse that Linda suffered to achieve this financial dream for all those involved (accept herself) and how she eventually manages to move on with courage and dignity. A really entertaining piece of filmmaking that really captures the spirit of the seventies made all the more memorable by its upbeat score featuring hits from T.S.O.P. and George McCrae’s ‘Rock Your Baby’ (1974). MT






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