Operation Avalanche

In 1967, four undercover CIA agents were sent to NASA posing as a documentary film crew. What they discovered led to one of the biggest conspiracies in American history.


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  • ★★★★½ review by Arielrocks5 on Letterboxd

    A film like this is a lot like watching an incredibly well constructed and performed magic trick; convincing you that what you're seeing is real, even if it goes against everything you've known before hand, and there's a greater sense of relief and satisfaction when everything comes together flawlessly.

    Found footage nowadays very rarely is this creative with its limitations and even rarer in being so genuinely compelling, intense, and unpredictable, not to mention shockingly beautiful (there's a one take car chase sequence towards the end that is one of the most thrilling things I've seen all year).

    This is something I can tell is gonna only get better with thought and future viewings, but all I can say now is just watch it as soon as you can and go in as blind as possible, makes the mood and reveals all the sweeter.

    (ps: thank you to TheFilmFisher for finally convincing me to check this out)

  • ★★★★½ review by Ava Davis on Letterboxd

    when they showed jfk at the beginning my dad went "wow, whenever i see him, i think, what a shame!" my dad is not going to see jackie (2016)

    also my dad liked this so you know it's good

  • ★★★★ review by Naughty aka Juli Norwood on Letterboxd

    Me thinks the reports of the demise of Found Footage films was premature! Every time I turn around I keep finding brilliant examples that quite frankly blow my mind! In fact.. I was so immensely pleasured by this titillating government conspiracy found footage film that you can now find Operation Avalanche listed in the newly revised Kama Sutra ;-)

    My one and only regret is that it took me this long to finally sit down and view it! The trailer was not very enticing for it looked like a cheap cash grab going for the laughs kind of affair! I couldn't have been more wrong! It was so much more!

    Thanks to director Matt Johnson we have the privilege of viewing the mother-of-all conspiracy films that was so cleverly written, acted and directed that even the non tin foil hat wearers of the world could finally buy into the premise that the moon landing was indeed faked!

    Excuse me a minute I have to readjust my tin foil hat ;-) I'm giddy as all get out for I can finally welcome you to my world! I'm an absolute sucker for a good conspiracy flick and this one really takes the cake! By the films end you can't help yourself.. it's much too late for that! You've become thoroughly invested in the characters and storyline!

    Once the story gets rolling it is simply riveting!

  • ★★★★★ review by truman segal on Letterboxd

    Part 2 of 2016 Catch Up

    Operation Avalanche got so intense so fast.

    It's clearly fictional, but entirely convincing and very interesting.

    If you know me by now, it wouldn't be a surprise a love letter to the Cold War and filmmaking would be an easy 5 stars on my behalf.

    Top 5 of the year.

    A terrific soundtrack as well, Matt Johnson has an incredible taste in music, or, well, everything really. I'd love to hang out with this guy.

    I just can't get over how intense Operation Avalanche was, Jesus Christ.

    Also, seeing Kubrick on set of 2001? Priceless.

  • ★★★½ review by Sigfred Storstrand on Letterboxd

    One of the most entertaining conspiracy theories out there is the moon-landing, and Operation Avalanche does a magnificent job of expanding on the myth, and adding a ridiculous, yet almost plausible explanation for how and why it happened.

    Matt Johnson blew me away with The Dirties a couple of years back, with one of the most hard-hitting movies i had ever seen. The style completely carries over, and so does Johnsons passion. This dude knows how to do mockumentaries. He creates a narrative that flows with so much life that its unbelievable.

    I hate found footage. I could probably count one one hard how few found footage movies i've ever even partially enjoyed. And two of those are now by the hands of Johnson. And that i have to give him mad props for. The hidden camera adds personality, and like few found footage flicks, it makes incredible sense. It's not a dumb gimmick just for emotional effect. This movie could never work without the format.

    Choosing to film it on film was beautiful. The 60s look is completely nailed, and the scenes where they manage to shoehorn themselves into the NASA boardroom and next to Stanley Kubrick looks fantastic. I believe this is so well made that you could timetravel back 40 years with it, and make people believe this was real.

    What damages though, in comparison with the masterpiece that i consider The Dirties to be, is the gravity of the subject. While toying with the CIA and NASA is good fun, its mostly that. Fun. The Dirties delved much more down into the human psyche , and had a much stronger focus on character, while Operation Avalanche was much more high concept.

    And i do feel its fair to pit these movies up against each other, because of how similar they feel. Johnson uses the exact same storytelling techniques by showing them editing the documentary inside the documentary, but using the montages, by having the cameraman capture things he never should. By showing the faltering friendship of the slightly meglomanic main-character and the rational sidekick. There really are so many similarities, and it doesnt damage the movie, but it also challenge the narrative format as i wish it would try to do.

    Operation Avalanche is a great movie. Matt Johnson has found a style unlike any other, and he seems to be sticking with it. And it works like hell. Operation Avalanche is definitely one the indies that really stick out for me from 2016, and i think he is on his way to a great career.

    You won't regret picking this up, i assure you. Its cool, is hilarious, its smart. Its everything you want from a mockumentary and more. Just make sure you also pick up The Dirties, as a superior compaionpiece.

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