It’s bold to borrow your title from a classic movie of the New Hollywood boom (in this case, Arthur Penn’s 1975 thriller starring Gene Hackman) but after a string of intelligent indies, director Kelly Reichardt has earned the right. One of her more ambitious productions, it concerns the attempts of three young eco-activists to blow up a hydroelectric dam. However, it’s as much to do with the paranoid bubble the conspirators find themselves in than their struggle with the outside world. The lead-in is slow, offering an insight into procedure rather than motive, with an agonising wait to obtain the fertiliser needed for the bomb. The second half, however, picks up the pace and establishes a dangerously unstable dynamic between the jittery Dena (Dakota Fanning), loose cannon Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and their unsettlingly unflappable handler Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard). Things get a little overheated but the direction stays cool and Reichardt earns her 1970s stripes with a perfect, understated ending.
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