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Ben Austwick [Film Festival 05.07.11] United Kingdom movie review scifi

Year: 2011
Directors: Mathew Avant
Writers: Mathew Avant
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Ben Auswick
Rating: 5 out of 10

[Editor's note: Be sure to read Marina's review for a different take]

Making a film on the cheap isn’t easy. You need to work with what you’ve got - your cheap digi camera, amateur actors and humdrum locations - usually by holding it together with a strong script, stronger ideas and an eye on simplicity. Lunopolis gets some of this right, going for a documentary style to cover the deficiencies of DV, but undermines the good work by being overly ambitious while never really knowing what it wants to do.

A complicated and overwrought conspiracy theory is at the film’s heart, as two young filmmakers investigate a secret cabal of people from the future living on the moon, who travel into the past to influence events and guide the course of time. The filmmakers are thwarted in their probings by the sinister Church of Lunology, a low-key but powerful organisation that exists to keep the conspiracy a secret. Luckily they have a card up their sleeve: their accidental acquisition of a strange artifact the church will do anything to get back.

This all sounds compellingly Philip K Dick, but is just too messy and directionless to really work. The two filmmakers (who, it must be said, are pretty well played) trudge their way through the plot in a fairly linear fashion, the complex machinations of the conspiracy more wearying than fascinating. There are a couple of creepy, Blair Witch-style sections that remind you what can be done with a low budget; a glimpse of the simple, tight investigative horror Lunopolis could have been. These only serve to frustrate.

This isn’t a terrible film and a lot of care has gone into making it, but the lessons are clear for young filmmakers out there: keep it simple!

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Carl (10 years ago) Reply

I have to disagree with you Ben. I thought this was a pretty great film, especially considering the low budget aspect. The concept was great, as well as the direction. Acting was about as good as you can expect, one guy stood out in particular and appeared to have experience.

I think 5/10 is a bit low for what this film accomplished.

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