In the summer of 1969 one of man’s most audacious acts was beginning: a launch to land men on the moon. Their chances for success were completely unknown and, while a world watched breathless, governments prepared for celebration and disaster.
Against this backdrop, director Bardou-Jacquet’s first feature film stands-up Ron Perlman (Stonewall) as a PTSD-suffering Viet Nam vet driving a covert operation to create a fake landing for broadcast… if needed. Perlman delivers a very personal performance amid the chaos and insanity that is writer Craig’s (Death at a Funeral) script. Part of what makes this movie work is that it is highly personal despite the broader implications and actions going on around characters.
And chief amongst those characters are Rupert Grint (CBGB) and Robert Sheehan (Mortal Instruments). Neither is particularly likable nor believable, but they are consistently self-destructive and predictable. In the case of this film, that supports the need. It really is Perlman’s film from a performance perspective, despite Grint being the clear lead focus and line-wise.
Production-wise, the movie nails the period utterly. It picks up not just the look, but the interactions and social movements. As absurd as it may seem, much of it is perilously close to real life.
While the movie itself floats along in a true-to-the-period miasmic fog of psychedelics, the ending goes well off the rails. The main confrontation is set up well enough, but the final moments of the film force you to question the meaning and intent of it all. That lack of clarity is due entirely to the use of a song over the final events. You’ll recognize it for sure, and the lyrics are well known or discoverable on the net in seconds, but the meaning… there’s the rub. Either it is all a weird house of mirrors or it is a personal comment that is too depressing to consider. I’m not sure which I prefer. Ultimately, should you spend the time, you’ll have to decide for yourself what the meaning may or may not be.