Director – Duncan Jones
Cast – Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey(voice), Dominique McElligott, Rosie Shaw, Adrienne Shaw, Benedict Wong, Matt Berry
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I had been waiting very impatiently for quite some time to get a chance to view this film, and after finally getting my hands on this flick I can see what all of the positive buzz is about. As a huge fan of the sci-fi genre, seeing that element taken to a new level of mixing it with psychological horror was heavily intriguing to me, and is sure to please even just plain Jane sci-fi fans. Maybe the most original sci-fi/horror film of modern time, this film is destined to become a classic.
“Moon” stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, an astronaut on the moon employed by the powerful “Lunar” company. Sam signed on to work a three year contract for Lunar, and is down to his final three weeks. His job? To mine and transport to Earth the newest source of clean and efficient energy, helium-3. He is the only human employed on the Moon, but he is not alone. GERTY(voiced by Kevin Spacey!), an intelligent computer who’s function is to serve Sam’s every need, accompanies him. After almost three long years Sam has begun to have hallucinations, and suffers a severe accident when he crashes his rover into a mining machine. Sam then awakens in the base’s infirmary, most likely thanks to the aid of GERTY, and is told that he is now only two weeks ago from going home. Sam has no memory of the accident, but his physical condition reaffirms that he was. His curiosity gets the best of him, and he returns to the crash site, and makes a horrifying discovery. The ensuing events lead Sam to question his sanity, the company he works for, and just exactly why there are so many communication signal blockers around the base.
I cannot believe how awesome and original this film’s storyline is. The first act of the film is intriguing, and does not play off the way the rest of the film does. We see Sam’s loneliness, and his longing to get back home to his wife and young daughter(who was born when he was in space). The film really takes off when he makes the horrendous discovery at the site of his accident. WOW. It was definitely one of the coolest plot ideas/developments I have ever seen in a film, regardless of genre. The film’s tone is changed for the remainder of the film, and it works wonderfully. We see Sam delve more and more into the horror of what is going on, and you feel only sadness for him as more and more developments take place. The horror is subtle, but put yourself in his situation and watch your heartbeat skyrocket. I am serious, it is darn scary. It is hard to fully explain this without giving away big spoilers, so I will stop at that.
What is equally surprising to me is the fact that this film’s director and original story writer, Duncan Jones, is a first-timer. I cannot wait to see what the future will bring us from this brilliant man, who is also the son of David Bowie! That’s right, as if David Bowie could not be any cooler himself, his genes even lead to great sci-fi flicks. Who’d have thought that? His direction in this film is marvelous, with great pacing, amazing cinematography, and complex and captivating sets. Very impressive for a film with a budget of 5 million dollars!
Sam Rockwell’s performance in this film is amazing, and I can bet it took every bit of life out of him to complete this piece. Him being the only human we actively see in this film, he has a lot of screen time. Thanks to the many flashbacks to his three years on the base, we see him go through many different stages as a character. To make this even more impressive, when you see what the big “surprise” is at the accident site, this element will be taken to a completely new level.
Some will say that this film has some influences to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and it does. GERTY is almost a complete rip-off of HAL, although I prefer GERTY to HAL any day. Why? Well GERTY has a screen on his front side with an animated happy face, that changes faces based on GERTY’s mood. Silly, but pretty darn awesome. I also liked how GERTY was not as incorruptible as HAL was, and took sides with Sam over Lunar on a number of occasions. It was the only love Sam got up there in space, and it felt real.
Overall, this is an amazing film that I recommend to all fans of the sci-fi and horror genres. Each genre has it’s own influence in this film which is why I refer to this film as one of the best sci-fi/horror films of modern time. An amazing storyline, great direction, and Sam Rockwell giving one of the best performances of the decade make this a must watch.