Matt Johnson previously directed The Dirties which was shot for less
than $10,000, blew away audiences at Sundance and nabbed an exclusive
distribution from Kevin Smith's company. I personally was very
impressed with the gritty independent style of the film, and it left me
wanting more from the filmmakers.
With Operation Avalanche, Johnson is 2 for 2, delivering another solid film through his directorial style and performance. I'm not sure whether the film was shot digitally or on 16mm, but the cinematography throughout the film thoroughly immersed me in that 1960s environment. The other actors, Owen Williams and Josh Boles deliver authentic performances as CIA agents faking the moon landing.
The film's dramatic tension is key here; scenes which are otherwise simple moments in an operation are brought to life by the film's unique staging and editing methods. In terms of historical accuracy, it's obvious that the film is merely faction, that is, taking archive footage of real people working at NASA in the 60s and seamlessly blending them into the narrative while still maintaining many details from the moon landing conspiracies. The script is structured in such a unique way that it's apparent how powerful editing can negate a bigger budget.
Johnson has proved again that he knows the mockumentary format and how to keep a viewer on edge throughout a film. Even though the dialogue in the movie was mostly improvised, it feels completely organic. The film's real strength is in its tension, specifically the car chase at the climax of the film. Its staging and execution solidified it as one of my favorite all time chase scenes in a movie, without a doubt. I can't wait to see what Johnson and co. make next!
1967: the height of the Cold War. The CIA suspects there is a Russian mole inside of NASA, sabotaging the Apollo program. They send two young agents on a mission to go undercover, posing as documentary filmmakers to capture NASA's race to the moon. The real mission - use their access and technology to hunt down the leak. But what they discover is far more shocking than soviet spies - Their government may be hiding a secret about Apollo that could define the decade, and the White House will stop at nothing to silence anyone who learns it.
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January 14, 2017 at 03:03 AM