5 out of 10
Release Date: 4th April 2014 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Dave McKean (The Gospel of Us / Mirrormask)
Cast: Michael Maloney, Dervla Kirwan, Ben Daniels, Stephanie Leonidas and Maurice Roeves
Writer: Dave McKean
Film director, animator, artist, author and famous Neil Gaiman collaborator, Dave McKean needs to delegate when it comes to making films. Luna is the result of an amazing visual mind working at full tilt, much like a more anchored brother to Terry Gilliam, yet it stutters and stumbles because of a clunky script – he should have employed a dialogue writer because he has a ‘tin ear’ for how people speak. The talented actors falter at times too and fall on rocky ground. Where some visuals, or a look would have sufficed we are treated to unlikely monologues. All the same, it’s a treat to see another Dave McKean film, because as awkward as he is, he still dazzles on a small budget.
Old friends gather at the house of Dean (MICHAEL MALONEY – TRULY MADLY DEEPLY), a McKean-like author whose in a happy marriage with his much younger second wife, Freya (STEPHANIE LEONIDAS – AMERICAN GOTHIC). Visiting couple, Grant (BEN DANIELS – BEAUTIFUL THING) and Christine’s (DERVLA KIRWAN – BALLYKISSANGEL) baby son< Jacob has died and this is their first trip to see Dean since it happened. Old wounds open and instead of bringing comfort all the couples do is fight. Christine and Grant suffer from bold hallucinations of their son at varying ages including very old age. The visit may bring salvation or damnation.
Out of the four lead actors Stephanie Leonidas seems the most at ease, but then her character has the least to do. Her ‘no self-censorship’ rule when it comes to discussions only seems to apply to the men, as she bonds with Dervla Kirwan’s Christine, who needs to be muted and sad. The anger and action is left to Daniels and Maloney. The fantasy elements struggle to blend in with the very realistic storyline. And that’s the point, its about the collision of the real and the not real. And this will divide the audiences because there’s enough to satisfy fans of both in their films. The animation and special effects are even better than the ones we saw in his film debut Mirrormask (I haven’t seen The Gospel of Us yet) and they bewitch and help weave a mood. When applied to the story however it stutters. These scenes only seem to be here because that’s what Dave McKean does. It’s an auteur laying his style on thickly. And if you like you stylings thick then you’ll be happy. You have to seek this film out and the directors involvement will be the reason most people’s reason to see it. So is it a good Dave McKean film? The answer is a resounding yes. Is it a good film? Well, it’s OK. It’s a very mixed bag. I’ll take the visuals but leave the script behind for some more editing.
5 out of 10 – Visually dynamic, but a clunky script and unsure story make it a lumpy proposition.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Michael Maloney: Born of War, The C Word, Summer In February, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll, The Young Victoria, Notes On a Scandal, Babel, In The Bleak Midwinter, Hamlet (1996), Othello (1995), Truly Madly Deeply, Hamlet (1990), Henry V (1989)
- Dervla Kirwan: Interlude In Prague, Entity, Ondine, Dangerous Parking, With Or Without You, Ballykissangel (TV)
- Ben Daniels: Star Wars – Rogue One, Locke (voice), House of Cards (TV), Jack The Giant Slayer, Law & Order UK (TV), Doom, Fanny and Elvis, Madeline, I Want You, Passion In The Desert, Beautiful Thing
- Stephanie Leonidas: Tomorrow (2017), American Gothic (TV), Uwantmetokillhim?, How To Stop Being a Loser, Mirrormask
- Maurice Roeves: Detective Harrigan, Brighton Rock (2011), The Damned Utd, Hallam Foe, The Dark, Beautiful Creatures, The Acid House, Judge Dredd (1995), The Last Of The Mohicans (1992), The Big Man, Hidden Agenda