Moonwalkers (2015)

This one is not science fiction.

However, it should be of interest to SF fans as it gets its start from one of the strangest internet memes of recent years.  After all, we’re used to the normal sort of conspiracy and paranoia themes, the fear of government plots, the sinister machinations of the CIA, and even the idea that some of what we believe to be true was fabricated by the Government.  The whole notion that the Moon landings were faked is definitely old hat (and probably inspired the movie Capricorn One).

But to suggest that Stanley Kubrick – yes, that Stanley Kubrick, the director of what is arguably one of the best science fiction films ever made, 2001:  A Space Odyssey – actually directed the phony footage?  Well, that just takes the conspiracy theory to a whole new insane level.  Thank you World Wide Web!

Ron Perlman, at the top of his form, plays a deadly and violent CIA agent who’s on the verge of cracking up after a traumatic, three-year tour in Vietnam.  Instead of the break he’s been promised, he is instead sent on a new assignment:  Go to England and hire Kubrick to film fake footage of the moonlanding as the technical people fear that Apollo 11 will fail.

Unfortunately, a sleazy, wannabe agent, played by Rupert (Ron Weasley) Grint, steals the money from him – and then loses it to the local mob.

When he shows up to get his money back, the agent convinces Ron Perlman that there’s only one way to get his footage made with Kubrick out of the country and a deadline only days away:  You see, he happens to know this director…

One might describe it as a darker version of The Producers, but with rather more heads getting blown off by shotguns.  Certainly it offers a thorough mix of seemingly unrelated elements, from mobsters to the psychedelic sixties culture, the CIA, the space program, pretentious self-proclaimed artists and even a Rock Opera (well, almost), but it all seems to gel, even the wild acid freakout and the psychedelic opening animation reminiscent of The Wall and Yellow Submarine.

All in all, a strange and entertaining little film, anchored by solid performances by the two leads.  It’s not a classic by any means, but I still find it hard to believe that this is writer/director Antoine Bardou-Jacquet’s first feature length film.

One just wonders if he can come up with anything else as mad and unexpected next time.

It won’t be easy.



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