For most of my adult life, I’ve had a predilection for conspiracy theories, and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time watching and reading about them and the subcultures that surround them. No, I’m not a true believer or anything, but the idea that the world we live in and the events that have taken place are crazier than just the mundanity of the truth has always been something that I’ve derived a lot of joy from. Hey, some of them are better than others, some more convincing, but intellectually engaging with these types of materials has, at the very least, taught me about perspective. I don’t relegate my patience with ideas, no matter how weird they seem, it’s a skill I’ve been able to apply to everything I engage with. Critical thinking is important, party people.
One of the most pervasive conspiracy theories, that you might have heard about, is how the US faked the moon landing back in 1969. One of the most interesting angles on the theory is the notion that director Stanley Kubrick was the man behind the scenes. The fact that he worked closely with NASA while developing 2001: A Space Odyssey, and how the footage of the moon landing looks like something from that film, is often pointed to when people are looking for something resembling proof. Now, to be fair, that’s an incredibly reductive take on the “argument,” but my aim here isn’t to prove its thesis. I will say, though, it’s a fun rabbit hole to go down if you’re ever really bored. There’re feature length documentaries on the subject that you can find on YouTube. Also, if you’re into Kubrick-centric conspiracy stuff, I’d recommend the flick Room 237. It’s a good primer and provides a cross section of theories.
So, with all that stuff in mind, I was really intrigued by the trailer for the upcoming film Operation Avalanche. It’s hitting all the right notes for me. I love conspiracy theories; I love documentaries; I love a good fake documentary, as over the past few years they’ve been some of the most enjoyable genre stuff out there(The Conspiracy, The Bay, Lake Mungo). Some people find the sub-genre boring, but not me, suckers. I’m sure it has to do with the volume of actual documentaries I watch and the fact that my suspension of disbelief skills are pretty well honed.
The movie looks like it’s going to have a unique spin on the old conspiracy yarn, though. It posits that the people actually behind creating the footage were inspired by Kubrick and did it because they were opportunists. It’s less of a government driven cabal and more to do with two guys that thought they could hoodwink some people. It also looks like there are some people that aren’t too happy about it. Is it our government? Is it the Russians? I can’t wait to find out!
I do have one small criticism based on what I’m getting from the trailer. It looks really well shot. I know, that may seem like an odd problem to have with something that is intended to be viewed with a pair of eyeballs, but it’s a trap that some of these types of movies fall into. It can occasionally be distracting because you’re not expecting a story told through more traditional cinematic means. Maybe it’s just me, but I like rawness in documentaries, even fake ones. Obviously, I’ll reserve final judgment until I see the actual movie. As long as it feels justified in context to the story that’s playing out, then it’ll be fine. We shall see.
This is Matt Johnson’s second directorial effort, and while looking into Operation Avalanche I discovered his first film, The Dirties, which is also a faux documentary style flick, about school bullying. I haven’t watched it yet, but just based on the strength of this trailer, I’m definitely going to check it out. It’s on Netflix, by the way.
Like I implied, I’m kind of a ringer for these types of movies, so take my enthusiasm for what it is, but it has gotten some positive notices since its Sundance premiere. Hey, that doesn’t always mean anything, but, eh, I’m still interested. Operation Avalanche will be out in limited release and VOD on September 16th.