Sundance Recap: “Operation Avalanche”



I wanted to give “Operation Avalanche” a higher star rating because at its core is a really fun and smart and cool idea, but I spent a good chunk of my time looking down at my watch to see how much longer I had to sit in the theater. It’s never a good sign when I’m already getting antsy 15 minutes in.

This is a fake documentary about the CIA making a movie to fake the NASA Apollo moon landing. The cool conspiracy theory themes work well with the found footage shooting style, but I feel that this mockumentary stuff is so overdone and has become dreadfully boring, especially in the hands of a new filmmaker who hasn’t quite yet honed in on the craft. Director Matt Johnson is also the co-writer and star of the movie. Maybe this film would’ve worked better if he hadn’t insisted on playing the lead; he was awfully distracting and very unlikeable.

A very clever idea that’s stretched too thin, leading to a disappointing conclusion.


A new a different entry into the found footage genre, “Operation Avalanche” tells the (fictional?) story of the CIA conspiracy behind the Apollo 11 moon landing. While that sounds interesting on paper, the execution was lacking.

Oftentimes I feel that using a found footage style is an effective but obvious ways to camouflage flaws in the filming and style; it’s essentially the lazy-man’s way of making a movie. “Operation Avalanche” is no exception to this rule. A clever story is the only thing that propels this movie. Otherwise, this is a fairly conventional and run-of-the mill example of a tired format.

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