Moonwalkers taps into the ongoing love of a good conspiracy theory. One of the more populist ones out there surrounds the US is working to get a man on the moon. For many this never happened and was instead mocked up on a sound stage. The documentary, Room 237, which looked into all the hidden meanings behind The Shining opinions that it was in fact Stanley Kubrick who produced footage of the fake landing. Moonwalkers uses this as the basis for expanded story.
It is 1969 and the US government is facing up to major problem. The manned mission to the moon is just about to launch and there is a bit of a problem. They do not know whether it will successfully land. The military call in CIA operative Kidman (Ron Perlman)and instruct him to contact Stanley Kubrick in London and persuade him, with a large case of cash, to produce usable footage in case the moon shot goes awry. Kidman is duped into handing over the cash to Jonny (Rupert Grint) and Leon (Robert Sheehan) as they pretend to be Stanley Kubrick and his agent. Of course, they promptly get the money stolen from them. Kidman finds the boys and together they are forced to come up with some convincing moon landing images.
The first thing that came to mind after watching this was surprise. This film didn’t merit a UK cinema release which I found a bit strange given the amount of rubbish that does make it to the multiplexes. It is a funny and very entertaining movie with two big name actors and a great supporting cast. What’s not to like?
The film takes the initial premise and runs with it until its ultimate extreme. The trials that the two leads have to endure is well thought out and at points hilarious. Ron Perlman is perfectly cast as the gruff, no nonsense CIA agent. He is a damaged man who has visions of some of the horrific things he did to people during the Vietnam War which puts him on edge all the time. He tries to keep calm but when faced with a situation he tends to resolve any issues with violence. When he acts it is unexpected and more than a little entertaining, in a comedic way.
Rupert Grint is proving himself as a versatile actor in his post Potter career. Here he is the hapless Jonny, a struggling band manager and perennial loser. The problems he faces are all of his own making: a band that wants to sack him, a gangster that wants to chop his hands off. Grint plays him well with an air of desperation hanging over him at all times. Once Jonny and Kidman sort their differences there is a real sense of a partnership in their interactions.
The screenplay and direction make the best use of the lead performances. They are situated in the centre of all the chaos around them. The story seems to zip along with hardly a pause for breath. A succession of wild and wonderful characters appear on screen, each lending something positive to the story. It all culminates in a memorable third act which manages to be more outrageous than anything seen previously.
Overall, a fantastically funny and memorable film. Recommended.