Dave McKean’s “Luna” Is A Haunting, Surreal Portrayal Of Suffering



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Posted August 21, 2017 by

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Dave McKean has one of the most talented artistic minds on the planet. Known largely for his work in Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series, Mckean brought his surrealist imagination to the screen in his 2005 film “Mirrormask”. Mckean’s artistic style translated well, and the dark beauty of “Mirrormask” has since gained it somewhat of a cult following (including myself).

In his new film “Luna”, McKean once again augments his story’s reality with fantastical imagery, conveying his character’s emotion through art that is both jaw-dropping in its aesthetic and haunting at the same time. Though the fantasy elements are used more sparingly in “Luna”, the same message of dealing with one’s pain by escaping into the deep recesses of the subconscious is prevalent and Mckean’s storytelling is top notch.

Grant (Ben Daniels) and his wife Christine (Dervla Kirwan) are reeling from the pain of losing their infant son, only one day after his birth. In an attempt to distance themselves from their grief, they accept an invitation to their old friend (Michael Maloney) Dean’s oceanside home. Over the weekend, the three friends, along with Dean’s new wife Fraya (Stephanie Leonidas), celebrate Dean’s birthday, reveal long-kept secrets, and confront multiple issues from the past and present. For Grant and Christine, these events are made even more profound by dreams and visions of strange, mythical beings that force them to confront the loss of their child.

“Luna” deals with some deeply emotional themes, and thankfully the cast are all up to the task. Each of them give strong portrayals of their character’s struggles with painful pasts and uncertain futures. I was really impressed with Stephanie Leonidas, who was also the main protagonist in “Mirrormask”. She easily holds her own, in scenes with the older and more experienced actors, and becomes the most interesting of the four, by the end of the movie.

Of course, these performances would not be nearly as memorable if it weren’t for the immense artistic talent on display. Both the practical and animated effects of the fantasy sequences are breathtaking and amplify the film’s moods to incredible heights. McKean also proves, once again, that not only is he a great artist but he is also a very capable writer. His script allows each character the chance to inspire sympathy in the viewer. You truly care about the people in this story, and hope that they can defeat their demons. What better accomplishment is there for a writer?

Although “Luna” was released in 2014, it is only just now available in the U.S. via DVD and Amazon video. If you like movies like “Mirrormask” or Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”, you will probably love this film as well. If you are unfamiliar with Dave McKean’s work, I would suggest starting with “Mirrormask” and then immediately following it with “Luna”.




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