Review: Moon Rock for Monday

George Pullar and Ashlyn Louden-Gamble in Moon Rock for Monday.

Directed by Kurt Martin
Written by Kurt Martin
Produced by Jim Robison
Starring Ashlyn Louden-Gamble, George Pullar, Aaron Jeffery, David Field, Alan Dukes, Clarence Ryan and Nicolas Hope

“Whimsical and sweet. Moon Rock for Monday is a very special film.”

 

by Matthew Eeles

When my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer after the death of her sister a few months earlier, she was convinced her bad luck could have something to do with a rock she took from Uluru during a visit to the Australian landmark.

When I noticed it was missing, Mum told me she threw it away. She died shortly after.

I’m not a superstitious person, so I don’t believe there was a connection between the rock and the death of my Aunty and Mother, but I acknowledge the spiritual connection most Australians have with Uluru and its surrounding area.

That connection plays a big part in Kurt Martin’s feature film debut Moon Rock for Monday about a young girl named Monday (Ashlyn Louden-Gamble) who believes the moon rock, or Uluru, can help cure her terminal illness.

To get to Uluru, Monday befriends Tyler (George Puller), a young man who has committed a heinous crime. Tyler essentially kidnaps Monday to assist with his escape from the cops, while Monday’s father, Bob (Aaron Jeffery), desperately tries to track her down and rescue her from the fugitive. 

On paper the plot sounds like an edge-of-your-seat, R-rated Liam Neeson thriller. But writer and director Martin has presented his material from a much more innocent perspective and tells it through the eyes of his lead character, Monday – think Alice in Wonderland set in outback Australia. It’s so kid-friendly even profanities are substituted with verbal concoctions that could have been lifted from a Dr. Suess book. “Oyster hammerheads!,” the two scream playfully.

George Pullar and Ashlyn Louden-Gamble in Moon Rock for Monday.

Moon Rock for Monday is whimsical and sweet. It’s a special film thanks to the profound chemistry between lead actors Pullar and Louden-Gamble who both have long careers ahead of them. Pullar has already been cast opposite The Shield’s Michael Chiklis in American television series, Coyote, and can be heard in upcoming children’s animation, Combat Wombat.

Pullar and Louden-Gamble are backed up by a playful bunch of supporting characters who give the film a magical touch including moon cake salesman The Bobbins, played by Nicholas Hope, and the inquisitive Johnny, played by the brilliant Clarence Ryan who you’ll recognise from acclaimed series, Cleverman. The Alan Dukes and David Field characters are seriously underused and underwritten which is a shame considering the level of talent the acting veterans bring to the film. Each scene these two appear in elevates the film to another level. 

Moon Rock for Monday is beautifully shot and captured, but doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights the film aspires to. Regardless, it will fill you with the kind of childlike joy and optimism that you’d get from a good children’s book written by the likes of Mem Fox or Jackie French. And in today’s trying times, that’s a major achievement in itself.

Moon Rock for Monday will screen at CinefestOZ and The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival over the coming weeks. More screenings will be announced soon. 

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