A great premise gets lost in the murk in this feature directing debut from Antoine Bardou-Jacquet. Playing off the myth that we never landed on the moon and Stanley Kubrick was hired to direct a moon landing film, Bardou-Jacquet aims for dark humor with clear nods to Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and other Kubrick classics.
There are many clever moments in the movie, but they never come together as a cohesive piece, and one of the central performances drags the film down.
Rupert Grint is good as Jonny, manager of a lame sixties rock band who is deep in debt and running out of options. Ron Perlman is a bit of a muddled mess as Kidman, a Vietnam vet suffering major PTSD and working for the CIA. When Colonel Dickford, (played by Jay Benedict with echoes of Sterling Hayden in Strangelove) comes to the conclusion there’s a good chance the moon landing might not work out (“We’re going to look like dicks!”) he sends Kidman overseas to hire Kubrick, get the moon landing fake film, and then kill everybody involved.
Bardou-Jacquet doesn’t quite have the courage of his convictions in the end, and Perlman seems lost in a role he could’ve had a lot of fun with. Grint keeps things moving okay enough, as does Robert Sheehan as his druggie roommate, but it’s not enough. There are some funny lasting images, including an art film called Bounce that is just an obese man in a diaper bouncing accompanied by bicycle horns and chickens, but the super violent tone, Perlman’s dreary work and the comedy don’t blend (Available to rent on iTunes, Amazon.com and On Demand during a limited theatrical release).