Moon Rock For Monday
Ashlyn Louden-Gamble, George Pullar, Aaron Jeffery, David Field, Alan Dukes
…blends the coming-of-age and criminals-on-the-run genres with a real sense of style and assurance.
There is a consistently fascinating tier of filmmaking at work in Australia: small features financed independently of the government funding bodies that boast an undeniably commercial streak, often working in genres that our bigger budgeted films seem to assiduously avoid. The likes of Watch The Sunset, The Taverna, Burning Kiss and more have all punched impressively above their weight, and another contender to add to this list is Moon Rock For Monday, which announces an exciting new cinematic voice in writer/director Kurt Martin, who blends the coming-of-age and criminals-on-the-run genres with a real sense of style and assurance.
Pre-teen Monday (Ashlyn Louden-Gamble) has a medical condition that will likely take her life before she hits sixteen. Her approach to life, however, is sunny and upbeat, but you can see the deep well of sadness that pulls at her protective, home-schooling father, Bob (Aaron Jeffery). Desperate for adventure, Monday falls easily into the orbit of reckless but inherently decent criminal, Tyler (George Pullar), whose impulsivity and poor instincts have seen a jewellery store robbery devolve into a cop killing, which has him on the run and racing against a very sharply ticking clock. Tyler and Monday share an instant sibling-style bond, and decide to light out for The Northern Territory. The detective brother (David Field) of the murdered cop, however, has other ideas, while the distraught Bob begins his own fraught journey to get his daughter back.
Anchored by two truly superb leading performances – first-timer Ashlyn Louden-Gamble is a revelation, while George Pullar (TV’s Playing For Keeps and Fighting Season) is a wonderfully loose-limbed, charismatic and authentic screen presence – Moon Rock For Monday is a beautifully shot road movie. It veers through poetically lensed locations and drops in on various oddball characters (Nicholas Hope and Clarence Ryan are amusingly out there), but never loses sight of the two lost souls at its core. Tyler and Monday are astutely drawn characters, and effortlessly draw audience sympathy, making the film’s impending sense of doom even more heartbreaking. You hold out hope that these two will make it, but the odds are well and truly stacked against them. It’s here that Moon Rock For Monday really sings: while its technical achievements are all top-notch, it’s the emotion that really kicks. Sad, funny, heartbreaking and true, Moon Rock For Monday won’t release you from its grip for days.