Moonwalkers presents a hypothetical story. It’s rooted in reality but in no way (that we know of) represents or is even loosely inspired by real events. The idea is that in 1969 Kidman (Ron Perlman) has been sent to London by the CIA to contract Stanley Kubrick to film fake footage of a moon landing on the off chance Apollo 11 can’t actually do it themselves. But through a series of misunderstandings and scams, he winds up giving the money to Jonny (Rupert Grint), a low-level band manager who sees the cash as the solution to his problems. Trippy hilarity ensues as Kidman has to navigate the London underworld, drug-addled filmmakers and other impediments to getting the job done.
When the movie got a marketing campaign in advance of its on-demand and limited theatrical run the focus was heavy on the psychedelic nature of the story’s setting. But that’s not so much a part of the movie itself, at least not to the extent it was represented in the campaign.
If you believed the campaign you might have thought this was going to be an entirely drug-fueled trip through 1960s London. That’s true to a degree, but that’s not all that’s going on here. What the campaign was missing in large part were the backstories and motivations for both Kidman and Jonny, but those form the most interesting parts of the movie. The “Why” behind Jonny fooling Kidman into thinking he represents Kubrick and the “Why” behind Kidman’s actions in the quest to secure Kubrick’s involvement are what drives the story. The campaign, though, focused only on the results of those actions, providing only the barest of outlines as to what sets the story in motion.
Let me be clear, it’s not a great movie by any means. But is entertaining and a decent watch on Netflix, which is where I finally caught up with it.