A contrived, rather unpleasant English-lingo thriller set in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, "Moonlight" takes a precocious love story between a young rich girl and an Afghan boy to kinky limits where few auds will want to tread.

A contrived, rather unpleasant English-lingo thriller set in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, “Moonlight” takes a precocious love story between a young rich girl and an Afghan boy to kinky limits where few auds will want to tread. Menacing atmosphere created by Dutch helmer Paula van der Oest (“Zus & Zo”) don’t make up for the weak script’s multiple improbabilities, flat dialogue or the discomfort of watching children, the handicapped and even animals being abused onscreen. However, pic’s stylish look may earn it some business.

At 13, Claire (lunar Laurien van den Broeck, from “Mariken”) is strangely unprepared for her first menstrual period. She has little rapport with her concert pianist mother (Jemma Redgrave) or psychiatrist father (Johan Leysen), with whom she shares a designer home near an airport. The secluded area turns out to be a rendezvous point for drug runners who use Afghan boys as human packaging material.

In a scene that starts out promisingly sinister, one of the boys (Hunter Bussemaker) is taken into the woods by three killers and made to defecate bags of drugs while they dig his grave. He later crawls wounded into a summer house in Claire’s backyard, where she adopts him like a secret pet and dresses his wound with sanitary pads, collecting several extra drug packets in the process.

No one notices the boy’s presence except an implacable killer, Curt (Andrew Howard), who follows the kids to Luxembourg, where Claire takes the boy disguised as her sister. There, high on drugs, they go wild in her parents’ new house.

Young van den Broeck plays Claire with a chilling flair for perversity, while Bussemaker, as the sporadically hemorrhaging Afghan boy, gamely follows her lead.

Moonlight

Netherlands - U.K. -Luxembourg - Germany

Production

An A-Film Distribution release (in Netherlands) of a Staccato Film (Netherlands)/Spice Factory, Great British Films (U.K.)/Delux Prods. (Luxembourg)/Peppermint (Germany) production. (International sales: Peppermint, Munich.) Produced by Emjay Rechsteiner. Executive producers, Dirk Jan Weijers, Rechsteiner, San Fu Maltha, Alex Marshall. Directed by Paula van der Oest. Screenplay, Carel Donck.

Crew

Camera (color), Guido van Gennep; editor, Sander Vos; music, Fons Merkies; production designer, Harry Ammerlaan; sound (stereo), Jeremy Price, Piotr van Dijk. Reviewed at Dutch Film Days, Utrecht, Sept. 26, 2002. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Laurien van den Broeck, Hunter Bussemaker, Johan Leysen, Jemma Redgrave, Andrew Howard. (English dialogue.)
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