What if you could rewrite history? Director Matt Johnson takes the red pen and retools the NASA program in the found footage film, Operation Avalanche. Does it work or is this an appealing way to spend 90 minutes? No.
This is essentially Blair Witch inside the history of the Space program, as Johnson and co-writer Josh Bolson go inside the bowels of what the audiences knows as fact(Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and changed things forever) and makes it all a farce.
Which is a fine idea if it were done well or was actually compelling. However, this movie is a giant bore. For such a short running time, the film doesn't have a wise pace and it weighs on the viewer. The black and white color palette drowns out the rest of the visual flair and all you have left is a half baked story.
If you are going to mess with history, please be better. Johnson's tale takes a few undercover CIA agents into NASA looking for a Russian mole during the Cold War and develops into a different plot all together. There was a plan here. It simply wasn't executed.
Johnson's last directorial effort was The Dirties, about a group of high school geeks who plot revenge on their bullies. That was received well and had good moments. Here, wheels are spun and traction is never attained.
It's not all lost. There is a sudden car chase involving guns and real time driving that belonged in another film which is well done. It is a shocking and visceral scene and the only eight minutes of the film where it has a pulse.
Here's an idea for the next adventure, Matt Johnson. Stay away from history unless you can make it compelling, entertaining or funny. Don't let morbid dead air sneak into your film. Stick to stories like The Dirties. Stick to quirky humor instead of far reaching comedy set inside real important historical events.
The hidden theory here is that you can't trust history or the government or NASA's word. It's not bad. Conspiracy isn't a bad way to spin a flick, but if you go big, make sure it sticks.
Operation Avalanche is the reason I dislike found footage homemade style films. It's sloppy, not interesting enough, and boring. It is not worth your time or money. Skip it all together.
Operation Avalanche is currently playing at The Landmark Tivoli theater in the Delmar Loop if you need a cool way to take a nap.