A fun and charming idea; however it lacks something to make it as amazing as it could have been.
Moonwalkers, directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, tells an interesting story, and one which fits with many of the conspiracy theories I’ve heard over the years (mainly from my GCSE History teacher ironically).
The premise is relatively simple: the US government, worried that Apollo 11 won’t make it to the moon, commission the legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick to film moon-landing footage to air instead. However, when failing band manager Jonny Thorpe (Rupert Grint) is paired with CIA Agent Kidman (Ron Perlman), they must tread a truly bizarre path to try and pull off one of the biggest cons the world has seen.
When I heard the synopsis of the story, I was really excited to see this film. I thought it was a plot that was quirky and original, and that it was. However, it just all felt a bit slow, and wasn’t quite the ‘riotous, high-tempo action-comedy’ that it was sold to me as. Saying that, it was nevertheless a very fun watch, and I think the whole film had a certain charm to it.
The setting of the ‘swinging sixties’ era London plays on a lot of stereotypes, but it makes the film pretty cool to look at. You have fun costumes, and the hippy-ish vibes that the era was all about. The main mansion for which the majority of the film is set is a bright, eclectic mix of naked women, and drugs and bright colours, and it kinda reflects the tone of the majority of the film.
The actors are all great, and the contrast between Perlman and Grint’s characters is fab. Perlman’s American, PTSD suffering CIA Agent is serious and stern; an intimidating presence in most of the scenes he’s in (apart from when he’s tripping on acid), whereas Grint’s Jonny is a charming, sort of useless every-man who you can’t help but like.
Robert Sheehan is positively brilliant as Jonny’s junkie sidekick Leon, and is probably the highlight of the film for me. Every single scene he was in just had me cracking up, especially when he’s attempting to method act to try and convince Kidman that he is in fact Stanley Kubrick. Tom Audenaert must also get some credit as the completely ridiculous but pretty funny Renatus, whom they commission to make their film for them.
There’s a couple of pretty good action scenes too, and the previously referenced scene in which Kidman trips on acid is pretty spectacular. Apart from that, the majority of the film just feels a bit underwhelming. It’s reminiscent of the ‘stoner comedy’ genre, but also a little unaware. It’s quirky and charming, that’s for sure.
Moonwalkers is definitely a lot of fun, and I would say give it a watch. It’ll probably just be the one watch though, rather than many.
Moonwalkers (2016), directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, is released in the UK on DVD by Icon today. Certificate 15.