Moonlight by the Sea (2003)

I’ve put in quite a bit of effort finding Indie SF films over the years.  Part of the reason is that, like most hardcore SF cinema fans, I’ve already seen all the classics, most of the good ones and more than my share of the bad ones.  But another major reason is that they are often far more inventive and creative than the films turned out by the major studios.

And everything I’d seen about Moonlight by the Sea suggested it was one of the good ones, from the images in the trailer to the reviewer who compared it to Blade Runner.

To be fair, few films could live up to that sort of hype – particularly not one that only cost ten thousand to make.  But it does make the most of that money, filling the screen with surreal imagery, some of which is quite effective.  In particular, some of the scenes where the settings are little more than carefully placed lights are quite impressive.

The basic setting, with a sinister Corporation which runs everything is far too familiar.  However, it seems promising when a salesman named Albion Moonlight crashes his ship on a distant planet and finds himself cut off from the constant surveillance and control of the Corporation.

Unfortunately, it never lives up to that early promise.

Perhaps I might be a tad less critical of the film if it hadn’t proved to be so difficult to find.  Perhaps.  But to me the most important thing about this film is that it is one of a number of independent SF films which use the same tired old “twist” ending, films like Zenith and The Fourth Dimension.

I find this very puzzling, particularly as most people call that ending a cheat.  Are Indie filmmakers afraid they’ll lose their Indie cred if they make a REAL SF film?

Somehow it reminds me of the earliest  days of SF film, where quite a few SF films ended this way.  One wonders whether they were afraid of how their film would be received.

Or is it that they themselves find SF inherently unbelievable?

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