Even with a story that is contrived, implausible and filled with clichés, Paula van der Oest'sMoonlight is an outstanding achievement. It shows us, very literally, that filmmakers may recycle as many plots as they like, for as long as they like, if they present them in a way that makes them seem original. As always, it is not what happens, but how it happens, that counts (I have revised Roger Ebert's oft-stated rule, because "what a film is about," thematically anyway, is in fact often important), and how Moonlight happens is through great visual storytelling.
Within the film's first few minutes, we are able to figure out how the whole story will play out, as it kicks off two familiar scenarios: drug dealers attempt to retrieve their product from the person who's run off with it, and a young girl falls for the boy she's nursed back to health. The two plots combine easily as they unfold into a basic couple-on-the-lam configuration, although not so much in the thriller sort of way. Moonlight isn't a suspenseful or action-driven film, although it isn't slow, either.