OPERATION AVALANCHE (2017)
Directed by Matt Johnson
Written by Matt Johnson, Josh Boles
Starring Matt Johnson, Owen Williams, Josh Boles, Jared Raab, Andrew Appelle, Krista Madison, Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Joe Thomas, Tom Bolton, Sharon Belle, Chris Gonsalves. Samantha Michelle
Find out more about this film here
While this film might be a stretch to call horror, it does involve some absolutely amazing suspense and enough intrigue to tickle the fancy of any conspiracy theorist. Never seeing a conspiracy that isn’t work a look see, I was caught hook line and sinker when I heard the premise of OPERATION AVALANCHE, a film that tackles the topic of the possibility of a fake moon landing. The film tackles CIA coverups, Stanley Kubrick theories, Russian spies, and the big beating heart of inexperienced filmmakers in way over their heads—and I loved every last second of it.
OPERATION AVALANCHE focuses on a team of rookie CIA operatives, lead an over eager wannabe director Matt Johnson (who actually directed and co-wrote the film) and his rather uptight partner/producer Owen Williams (who plays himself) who are sent to NASA to ferret out a mole who is leaking information to Russia. Though a series of bumbling investigations, the crew uncover that the US will inevitably not win the space race. But Matt has a plan to film his own moon landing and sell it as authentic to the American public. This hair brained scheme begins to take root and one of the world’s biggest conspiracies is set into motion.
More than anything else, OPERATION AVALANCHE is a film about people with an undeniable urge to get to the truth as well as a passion for filmmaking that cannot be deterred no matte what the odds. It’s a film about ingenuity, quick thinking, and tackling problems way out of your depth, but still plunging forward because nothing is more important than the art of filmmaking. The essence of this notion is in every scene of OPERATION AVALANCHE and embodied perfectly by its stars who are obviously in over their heads with the predicament they find themselves in. The hurdles Matt and Owen leap in this film are substantially high, but still, because of the passion they have for filmmaking, they are able to do it which, to me, makes for an inspiring and amazingly entertaining story to witness.
On top of the thematic heft of OPERATION AVALANCHE, there is so much fun to be had. It’s fun to see these bumbling rookie CIA operatives try to pass as documentary filmmakers. It’s fun to see Matt brainstorm about how to leap the hurdles they are faced with and succeed every time with rolled-up sleeves ingenuity and hutzpah. And it’s fun seeing these good intentioned plans going to shit even after they succeed and come to fruition. Of course, being in the CIA, no loose ends are left taken care of, so as things get serious and the heft of the situation Matt and Owen find themselves in sets in, comedic moments make way for segments drenched in sheer tension.
The film, though shot in a found footage/Cinema Verite approach where the film attempts to capture real life in its most pure form. The film definitely feels authentically filmed in the late 60’s era is intended to be filmed in with appropriate cars, fashions, talk, and culture captured in the footage. Sure there is the add on of some contemporary music during key scenes, but this doesn’t distract from the narrative or took me out of the film. OPERATION AVALANCHE is a film for conspiracy freaks, taking a popular theory and turning it on its head and still honoring it in many interesting ways. If you’re a fan of alternative history, conspiracy theories, and films capturing the love of cinema, OPERATION AVALANCHE is going to be a must see for you. Don’t miss this film. It’s simply amazing and enthralling every second of the way.