Director: Arthur Penn
Year Released: 1975
My dislike for the films of Arthur Penn knows no bounds, but even his clunky, can't-decide-where-I-want-the-camera "technique" and erratic pacing can't completely topple a fairly decent by Alan Sharp, which has former football player turned detective (Gene Hackman) searching for a missing teenager (Melanie Griffith; young and nude) in Florida. It's a no-frills, no-glory story - and the sadsack performance by Hackman is a bonus - but the ending plays like bad Antonioni, forgoing logic for existential moodiness. At least with the Italian auteur, you get a hint of the abstractness from the beginning - this wants too much to be both a 'realist' detective story and complex statement about being 'trapped in life' (or whatever the presumed thesis is). Read into it what you will - the title even has a double meaning, relating to the crimes at night and also moves in chess - but I'm skeptical.