Perhaps a little bit dull in its rhythm, perhaps a little too much with a flavor of "student film", but this movie is, at the end, a crazy good effort and a beautiful mess. It reminds me of those 70's pulp fictions and comics over the top, or those 80's tv shows that where far beyond incoherent and way beyond amazing. So cool it seems like a bunch of friends having fun.
Johnson follows up 'The Dirties' with another first person hand held camera film that takes on the possible faking of the moon landing. Often very funny with a side order of paranoia and government complicity, Johnson's film is highly entertaining and well made within its budgetary limitations. Scripting is aces here with the right mix of believability and audaciousness.
One should probably have a pretty good sense of how thin this material is based simply on a read of the synopsis. Indeed. Not much here on the face of it. It's a cute joke. Not high praise. It gets up to some interesting antic business here and there. I admire the enthusiastic lo-fi credo. In the late going a lot actually does get thrown at us. Some of it sticks. I had a good enough time. Pretty low stakes.
A strong candidate for best found footage movie ever and without question the most original and innovative. Operation Avalanche is conspiracy theorist's and cinefile's wetdream. Matt Johnson struck magic once already with The Dirties and has done it again, this time with the proper budget and means to achieve his vision. Johnson is a rare talent and this is an engrossing, wonderful film that will keep you on edge.
What does an indie wonder do given with more budget and interest to fuel his ambition? Film a big duplicitous scandal of course! Interesting in the way the film mirrors Johnson's predicament, expert manipulation of audio and visual (a friend was duped), though I kind of wish he had stepped back from this one. His goofiness is at ends with the seriousness of the film, and it feels like fun dress up for them.
Pretending to be film students making a doc about NASA in the 60s, and via guerrilla filmmaking trickery worthy of Moore, or Herzog's Rogue Film school, Johnson & team instead pull off a hijinks-filled meta commentary on image and truth, by turning the whole thing into a faux-vérité about CIA upstarts circa '69 (played by themselves), faking the moon landing. Clever & fun. Mad points for incredible editing/post. 3.5