Conejo en la Luna / Rabbit on the Moon
2004, cert 18, running time 112 minutes
Director: Jorge Ramirez-Suarez
A British/Mexican Co-Production.
Though around them a criminal world seethes, Julie and Antonio are a young and loving couple with a new baby and a solid, white-collar sense of stability. But when a loose social connection suddenly ties them to a major political assassination, the two become innocents desperately trying to adapt to a world of murderous politicians and police that, moment to moment, threatens their lives.
Starring Bruno Bichir, Lorraine Pilkington, Jesus Ochoa, Adam Kotz, Alvaro Guerrero, Rodrigo Murray, Emma Cunniffe and Reece Dinsdale.
"A terrific political thriller"
"With a willingness to boldly tell it like it is, this edgy and riveting political thriller digs deeply into corruption while telling an intensely personal story. It’s powerful, harrowing and startlingly important.
As Mexican and UK officials engage in illicit dealings, a Mexico City artist Antonio (Bichir) innocently buys land from a dodgy salesman called Chubby (Cobos). But Chubby’s involved in a political assassination, and the Mexican secret police, in search of a scapegoat, exploit the link to Antonio. A friend helps him flee to London, but his British wife Julie (Pilkington) and infant daughter are secretly imprisoned by the chief investigator (Ochoa). Meanwhile, Antonio is trying to find help in London, not realising that Julie’s ex (Kotz) is actually an MI5 agent.
Writer-director Suárez kicks off the film at full speed with a bewildering array of politicians, thugs and innocent bystanders thrown into a stew of corruption, torture, murder and fear. It’s thoroughly terrifying to contemplate how we’d react in the same situations. This is a story of everyday people unwittingly caught up in a massive conspiracy from which there seems to be no escape. The people in power can do whatever they like, while those who elected them are defenceless.
There’s an edgy, relentless urgency to the filmmaking style that refuses to play it safe. Even a few badly contrived plot points can’t undermine the film’s bold story and unflinching themes. It helps that the script is extremely realistic, with actors who deliver raw, gritty performances. It’s also especially well edited, cutting between the various story threads to keep us utterly gripped to each element of the plot. (The title refers to one of Antonio’s paintings.)
Reminiscent of Traffic or Syriana, this film touches on all aspects of government corruption, dodgy arms deals, drug money, black market babies, secret prisons and the mistreatment of political prisoners. It also bravely challenges our belief that these things can’t possibly happen in a 'civilised society', even if it’s the UK’s legal system that ultimately comes to the rescue. Despite its flaws, this is an important, courageous movie."
BBC Radio 5 Live
"Gripping political drama of the first order"
James Cameron-Wilson TwentyFour7
"Set in a murky world of corruption in Mexico, this dark thriller sees naive, young Antonio accidentally implicate himself and his family in an assassination. Having fled to the UK, Antonio (Bruno Bichir) desperately tries to prove his innocence while his wife Julie and their child find themselves captured by the crooked chief of police. Although the UK scenes are the stuff of your bog-standard drama, the prison scenes with Julie (a superb performance from Lorraine Pilkington) are incredibly well executed, and so unbearably tense that they turn this into a completely absorbing story. It has its flaws but this is ultimately a gripping watch."
Conejo en la Luna / Rabbit on the Moon has won, or was nominated for, various awards in Latin America and Europe.
Format: DVD PAL Region 0
More details: Conejo en la Luna / Rabbit on the Moon website.