Rabbit on the Moon (Conejo en la Luna) Made in: Mexico Language: Spanish, English Director: Jorge Ramírez Suárez Starring: Bruno Bichir, Lorraine Pilkington, Jesus Ochoa, Alvaro Guerrero, Adam Kotz, Carlos Cobos, Stephen Boxer Year: 2004
Synopsis: Antonio (Bruno Bichir) and his British wife Julie (Lorraine Pilkington), are a nice couple living in Mexico City with their infant daughter. Antonio meets Gordo (Carlos Cobos), who's interested in selling a large plot of land to Antonio (on which Antonio wants to build a house).
Antonio's lawyer and loyal friend Alfredo (Rodrigo Murray) finds nothing legally shady with the deal, and Antonio purchases the plot. But Gordo turns out to be associated with some really dangerous bad guys, and later becomes involved in the not-so-perfect assassination of Dr. Parra (Ricardo Blume), a corrupt Mexican government official.
The assassination was part of a conspiracy masterminded by Nicolas Lopez (Alvaro Guerrero) and Secretary Segura (Adalberto Parra), two other corrupt government officials who are involved in major money-laundering schemes with Mr. Stanner (Stephen Boxer). Stanner is a high-ranking member of Great Britain's Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Through Gordo, the unassuming Antonio becomes a scapegoat and is quickly framed for the assassination. While being pursued by Ramirez (Jesus Ochoa), the Deputy Attorney General who's in cahoots with Lopez and Segura, Julie and her son get apprehended. Antonio manages to escape to the UK with the help of Alfredo and a forged passport.
As Julie and her infant child suffer in custody under the sadistic Ramirez, Antonio finds temporary refuge in London with Ian Bower (Adam Kotz), an old boyfriend of Julie's. Bower turns out to be an MI-5 agent, and when he gets wind of the high profile assassination, he tries to figure out the exact nature of Antonio's involvement.
But the clock is ticking, as Lopez is appointed ambassador to the UK (mainly to find and kill Antonio). Bower, too, tries to discover the truth but another government man, Tom Sexton (Reece Dinsdale), possibly from MI-6, becomes suspicious of Bower's unorthodox investigative techniques. What a mess!
The Good: Rabbit on the Moon is a very dark, intense film that will pretty much have you on the edge of your seat all throughout. A complicated and clever story, it's yet another scathing commentary on the many levels of government corruption that is said to exist in Mexico.
Shot in a raw, documentary fashion used in other Mexican thrillers, this is a gritty, harrowing story that will make you fear going to that country. The scenes in the UK are well-developed, and since I'm a sucker for spy stuff, I thought the element involving MI-5 was a pretty neat twist.
The acting is great, as the villains are three-dimensional characters which you will absolutely detest. Jesus Ochoa, as the corrupt lawman Ramirez, does an amazing job and is positively terrifying.
The Bad: In the beginning scenes, it's very confusing to remember who all the characters are and how they're related. Although the story is complicated, logically speaking all the pieces fit. However, keeping up with the quick editing while trying to read the subtitles makes this a more difficult-than-normal movie to follow.
Who would like this movie: Rabbit on the Moon is for you if you're into gritty, dark dramas/thrillers. Many scenes are very unpleasant to watch, and unless you're already a seasoned fan of foreign films or have a good understanding of corruption within Mexico's government and civil administration, I'd say stay away.
Although this is a well-made movie, Rabbit on the Moon was not intended to entertain or thrill for the purposes of escapist fun. All in all it's a clear, coherent piece of work but my guess is that many of the themes and subject matter may be lost on the majority American audiences due to cultural differences.