Luna (2014)

Luna, the new film from MirrorMask director Dave McKean, follows Grant (Ben Daniels) and Christine (Dervla Kirwan) as they struggle to come to terms with the death of their child. Escaping from their arduous daily lives, they take a trip to visit an old friend (Michael Maloney) who is living in an isolated house by the sea with his younger girlfriend (Stephanie Leonidas). Over the course of a weekend, their loss is revisited, old wounds are opened, and secrets are revealed in McKean’s hybrid world of realism, origami crabs, sub-Saharan beats and moon men.

Having seen the trailer for this little feature, expectations were relatively high. I’m a lover of art and illustrations; the mix of animation and reality has previously been used to great effect (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Kill Bill, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1); it’s a British, familial affair; and who doesn’t love an oud or two? Sadly, though, the finished product doesn’t quite add up to the sum of its parts.

After a wonderfully creative opening sequence, we’re brought back down to earth with the two middle-class couples in the real world, talking about real problems in a very superior way. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the middle-class and, as human beings, we all face trials and experience tribulations, but this scenario is presented in quite a condescending way, which would make it hard for your average, not-so-eloquent Joe to care about their lives, no matter how tragic their situation. It’s also hard to believe the all of man’s problems can be solved by spending a couple of nights talking under the luna-light.

On the plus side, the cast is solid, the Arabic music, while completely out of place in the Devon landscape, is a treat for the ears, and the animated intro and many of the imaginary sequences are a feast for the eyes. It’s just a shame the film’s reach is probably not going to go beyond a niche audience made up of mostly Mckean admirers.