Moonwalkers review: A conspiracy theory comedy suffering from an identity crisis

Moonwalkers

Vincent Ralph reviews the new film starring Rupert Grint and Ron Perlman.

On paper Moonwalkers has all the elements to be a fine film – a willing and recognisable cast, a wunderkind director and a premise ripe for comedy.

Set in 1969, Moonwalkers tells the story of Special Agent Kidman, sent by the CIA to convince Stanley Kubrick to film a fake moon landing to be broadcast if things go wrong with the real one.

It is a conspiracy theory that has been doing the rounds for decades, but with the ever-reliable Ron Perlman playing Kidman there is fun to be had with the premise.

The problem for the PTSD suffering agent is that he mistakenly believes Rupert Grint’s put upon band manager Jonny is actually an entertainment supremo with Kubrick’s ear and, with a suitcase of cash on offer and debts to be paid, how can Jonny say no?

Talking his perpetually stoned friend Leon (Robert Sheehan) into playing a fake Kubrick, the two chancers convince Kidman to part with the money, promising him he will get his fake film.

Needless to say things do not go according to plan, and it is testament to a film that involves a lot of drug taking that this reviewer felt slightly tripped out watching things get increasingly worse for those involved.

Bardou-Jacquet is renowned for his visual flair, having previously made his name directing adverts, and that is evident here with some fine camera work and smart edits. The problem lies in the film not quite knowing what it wants to be.

Is it wacky? Is it violent? Is it funny weird or funny ha-ha? Like a bad trip it is a mixture of all these things and so much more, and as a consequence it fails to live up to its subject matter.

Sheehan does a good job as Jonny’s side-kick and Perlman is always watchable, but the latter’s deadpan delivery and brief bursts of violence belong in a different, considerably better movie.

Moonwalkers is out on DVD on Monday 30 May 2016.