Moonlight By The Sea
Special Edition, Collector's Edition, Director's Cut
Moonlight by the Sea depicts a futuristic world where ""The Corporation"" reigns, and salesmen are the foot soldiers of mind-control and propaganda. When a turn of events causes him to lose contact with The Corporation, top salesman Albion Moonlight finds himself torn between his loyalty to The Corporation and his desire to find his estranged wife. A character study of paranoid structures and fascistic systems in a future world.
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MBTS plays like a low budget THX-1138. MBTS is dark, weird, and spiced up with social commentary. The grim sci-fi plot is interesting and the acting is good, so it's easy to stick with it despite a slower-than-normal editing pace. At points, the visuals of MBTS give away the microscopic budget. At other points, the digital cinematography is breathtaking; miles above many properly financed movies.
I recommend MOONLIGHT BY THE SEA to sci-fi enthusiasts, and to those interested in the best of today's underground indie cinema.
As we journey through Albion's complex and resigned existence, the film is intercut with high-tech scenes from Corporation Headquarters and our introduction to Gwen Klaus, played by the gorgeous and capable Mylinda Wenz. She is charge of all product sales and the 'correct' thought patterns of her drone workers. She is thrown off schedule by Albion's disappearance and the corporation demands answers and solutions. The Corporation products, which are denied use by any corporation member, are also becoming part of Gwen's closet addiction. She enlists the aid of Capt. Santop (Gary Peters) to assist her, and in an unusual twist of subliminal romance, he covers for her and accepts her strict and clinical abuse, even after discovering her illegal usage. For more storyline, you simply have to get your hands on a copy of this great film. MOONLIGHT BY THE SEA is not your average, run of the mill, sci-fi romp. You're really going to have to put your thinking cap on kids and start using a little gray matter for this one! Justin Hennard has brilliantly created a future world and a hopeless existence for all living under the dictatorship of one singular mindset. He opens the film within the dark and claustrophobic hull of Albion's small ship, and with an ever-widening pinhole of light, he slowly opens the frame to reveal a constricted world.
Shot in lush black & white - a wonderful switch from the computerized C.G.I. fare of today - Hennard's photography grows comparison to the high-art camera work of 90' icons Bruce Weber and the late Herb Ritts. His streamlined sets, lighting, and total attention to detail and continuity, make for very sophisticated viewing. It took me to a far away place - I never once looked at a shot and thought - 'Oh, I know where that is!' Moonlight's look and expression reminded me much of those great French filmmakers from the 1960's. Quite impressive from a new filmmaker who is still very young - but only in years! An art film? Yes. An allegory to today's consumerism and greed? Absolutely!
There isn't a lot of action, just human condition. I think Ray Bradbury and Rod Serling would cheer at Justin Hennard and Jonathan Ackley's intelligent screenplay. I found 'Moonlight' very similar to one of my favorite films; Stanley Kramer's 1959 film of Nevil Shute's WW III epic, On The Beach, which placed Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner in a tale of apocalyptic proportions and relied solely on their 'humanness' as a storyline - and not millions of dollars of special effects.
Some may think MOONLIGHT BY THE SEA a bit highbrow and surreal, but maybe its just time for all of us to start using that part of our brain not controlled by the mass media and look a bit deeper as well. I'm so happy to see it finally getting distribution! * * * *