Moonlight

"Good"

Moonlight Review


When we first meet Claire, a privileged teenager growing up in her parents' opulent home, she is in shock. She's been carefully practicing piano in an immaculate room when she experiences the initial drops of her first menstrual cycle. Frightened, she retreats to the family shed, where more shock awaits. A young, orphaned drug courier has been hiding out there, left for dead with a gunshot to the belly.

With no common language, these two connect instantly -- perhaps it's the blood -- and embark on an emotionally wrenching journey in this visually appealing, occasionally heavy-handed thriller from Paula van der Oest (Dutch director of the Oscar-nominated Zus & Zo).

With minimal dialogue and an aesthetic that Luc Besson would appreciate, van der Oest creates a bizarre relationship study, throwing her two young characters into a wickedly spinning centrifuge with a glimmer of reality at its center. As Moonlight progresses, the world whips by increasingly faster as van der Oest hurls her symbolic characters toward a horrible fantasy finale.

As Claire and her young nameless friend slide deeper into their murky surreal hell, van der Oest tries too hard to make Moonlight a raw artistic curiosity. With plenty of blood, feces, violence, and oddball imagery, this film is not for the faint of heart.

As a result, viewers will delve into this adolescent nightmare at varying degrees. Van der Oest is a strong intuitive director, involving her audience with a deft mix of offbeat scenarios and painful heartbreak, but her methods may be questionable and her efforts head toward over-the-top territory. It's tough to tell whether van der Oest and screenwriter Carel Donck felt their content was appropriate for the subject matter, or if they were just choosing the edgy thing to do.

The same questions that arose regarding children actors in the Larry Clark shocker Kids would also surface here if not for two major exceptions. The first is young actress Laurien Van den Broeck, whose transformation from quiet daughter to reckless wild child is nothing short of stunning. Her acting is filled with such primal force and maturity that it's tough to imagine her being coerced into any level of performance (but who knows...). Her rampage of intensity is only sidetracked by her director's overuse of it.

The second reason that questions of exploitation won't arise is because this film will never get released theatrically in the U.S. [Oops! - Ed.] The general public (not to mention the MPAA) will find the film needlessly manipulative, simply offensive, and downright gross. They'd be right, especially when using a child to drive such action is considered strictly taboo in this country.

Should it be? Child actors (even teen actors) are usually more mentally and emotionally advanced than their peers, but who's to judge the level of "too much"? In my opinion, Paula van der Oest's fault lie not in the use of her phenomenal young leads; her problem is that she ratchets up the power of a poignant concept to the point of diluting it.

Reviewed at the 2004 Independent Film Festival of Boston.

Moonlight sonata.



Moonlight

Facts and Figures

Run time: 60 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th September 2007

Production compaines: Staccato Films, Delux Productions, Great British Films, Peppermint, Spice Factory

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Claire, as Boy, as Gang Leader, as Father

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.