Night Moves [1975]

Director: Arthur Penn
Stars: Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, Ed Binns, Harris Yulin
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 101 minutes

This vastly underrated Arthur Penn film from the mid-1970s ranks as one of the era's nastiest and most fascinating pieces of business, a detective story that shuttles back and forth between Hollywood and the Florida Keys, with a plot nearly as complex as Chinatown. Gene Hackman stars as a tired, aging private eye who, as a favor to a friend, agrees to track down a runaway teen. But the case turns out to be something much larger: a smuggling ring of Mayan antiquities. The human impulses get darker and darker and Hackman's character gets pulled in deeper and deeper, even as his own life is falling apart. Ultimately, in one of his best and most unsung performances, Hackman winds up hurting the people he is trying to help. A great cast includes Susan Clark, Jennifer Warren, a young James Woods, and a very young Melanie Griffith. --Marshall Fine

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