Sunday, January 27, 2019

Movie Review: "Don't Come Back from the Moon" (2019)

Director: Bruce Thierry Cheung
Year: 2019
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

The fathers of several teens have abandoned their families instead of staying in their rural California town with few prospects for work.

Don't Come Back from the Moon 2019 movie
"Are you going like the rest of them?" (Image Source)
Kids will be kids, right? "Don't Come Back from the Moon" is directed by Bruce Thierry Cheung, who is known for making the feature film "Future World." He also helped write the screenplay along with Dean Bakopoulos, who wrote the book on which the film is based. The story focuses on a young man named Mickey Smalley (Jeffery Wahlberg), who lives with his family in a dried up town in the middle of nowheresville California. With few prospects for work following the closure of the city's last plant, most of the town's fathers have left their families to look for a better life elsewhere. The kids describe this mass exodus as 'going to the moon' due to a note one of the men left his family scribbled on a mirror upon abandoning them. With an absence of their father figures, the town's youth lead lives of partying, drinking, and having sex because what else is there to do in a shithole like theirs?
Don't Come Back from the Moon 2019 movie
"We wanted life here to be as good as on the moon." (Image Source)
Whatever could the metaphor of "Don't Come Back from the Moon" be, dear readers? Remember, when using metaphors, it's best to repeat it over and over and over to the point of beating it into the ground. Be sure to integrate a few visual cues that invoke said metaphor as well, just in case the audience didn't understand it the first, second, or fifteenth time around. And, whenever characters aren't addressing the titular metaphor, which is seriously every other line of spoken dialogue, have the screen be full of expansive, sometimes slow-motion shots of the dried up desert town in which this story takes place. This visual technique is a staple of a lot of independent cinema, and it can be a useful tool for directors...if it makes sense to apply it. Since there's nothing to show or tell here, it's all the filmmaker has. He can't just show barren wasteland of a little nothing town without some kind of artsy-fartsy cinematography attached to it. This stems from the idea that if a director fills the screen with enough pretty pictures, viewers will mistake an otherwise tiresome, redundant story for ~*art.~* We've seen coming-of-age stories time and time again, so this movie really has nothing new to add to the genre. Don't be fooled by its vague and rather intriguing premise. Cheung milks its science-fiction-esque title, poster, imagery, and random interludes for all its worth but delivers next to nothing in return.
Don't Come Back from the Moon 2019 movie
"It was as if he vaporized out of the driver's seat and just floated away." (Image Source)
We're having trouble thinking of things to say about "Don't Come Back from the Moon" because there's barely anything here worth mentioning. The best thing about it is a solid performance by Rashida Jones, who rarely if ever gets the chance to be so subdued and emotional in her roles. Apart from this, it's mostly just a dull slog sold as something more meaningful with an almost non-existent story and paper-thin characters. There may be a niche audience for this project out there somewhere, but we're not it.

My Rating: 4.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: ~4.5/10
RT Rating: ~92%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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