Moonlight

"Very 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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

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.