Starring: Sam Rockwell, Matt Berry, Robin Chalk, Dominique McElligot and the voice of Kevin Spacey
Run Time: 1 hr 37 mins
Plot Synopsis: As an astronaut miner extracting the precious moon gas that promises to reverse the Earth’s energy crisis nears the end of his three-year contract, he makes an ominous discovery. The lonely astronaut looks forward to returning to his wife and daughter down on Earth, where he will retire early and attempt to make up for lost time. His work on the Selene moon base has been enlightening — the solitude helping him to reflect on the past and overcome some serious anger issues — but the isolation is starts making him uneasy. With only two weeks to go before he begins his journey back to Earth, he starts feeling strange: he’s having inexplicable visions, and hearing impossible sounds. Before he returns to Earth, he will grapple with the realization that the life he has created may not be entirely his own.
Really interesting and original science fiction movies are few and far between, which is sad because they can be so immensely entertaining. This is the case with Moon, a new sci-fi mind-trip starring Sam Rockwell. Rockwell is a very talented yet under-rated actor, and he has been in a number of very good films. In my opinion, similar to Christian Bale, if Rockwell is in a movie it is more than likely going to be great. Moon also features voice work by Kevin Spacey, so right off the bat you can assume good things because of the star power in the film. Add in an intriguing trailer, and you’ve got everything you need to draw audiences in. Well, except for the fact that Moon is more of an independent release than it is a wide release blockbuster. But after having the opportunity to sit down for a special private viewing of the film, I find that this film has all that it takes to be a well received and possibly award-worthy film. What an amazing first film for the son of David Bowie, Moon‘s writer and director Duncan Jones.
The film was beautiful. Duncan Jones did a great job of putting you on the moon, and set the atmosphere perfectly. In a film exploring this type of subject matter, the grimy industrial look and cold, heartless feel was very appropriate. It was an industrial future devoid of romanticism and idealism. Jones also did a fine job of adding some very witty little touches, giving the film a very complete feel. His attention to details left the film with very few holes. On the whole, Duncan Jones flashed us some serious potential – and if this is indicative of his abilities as a director, he is in for a successful career. If this was all just circumstance, the man is damn lucky that all his dominoes fell in the right place. I tend to believe we’ll be seeing more from Duncan Jones.
Of course, all the directorial talent in the world would mean nothing if the actors involved couldn’t pull their weight. Sam Rockwell did not disappoint. There were other actors who made appearances in the film, but make no mistake about it, this film belonged to Sam Rockwell. 97 minutes of Sam and his thoughts. Anyone who has seen a few of Rockwell’s films could tell you that all of his characters tend to be… quirky, or bizarre. He’s sort of made a career out of oddity, which made him perfect for the role of lunar miner Sam Bell. I’ll try not to give anything away, but I can tell you that a big part of the intrigue of this film is Sam wrestling with his emotional state and all the side effects of being all alone on the moon for so long. His companion is the computer system on the lunar base he lives in, Gerty, as voiced by Kevin Spacey. While it can be hard to judge an actor who only appears in film via voice recordings, I can say that he displayed decent range in tone – for a robot. Actually, it was interesting to see that Gerty had a smiley face screen that changed expressions as he spoke. A nice little touch to add a little humanity to a machine.
The movie explored the depths of insanity cloaked in a mysterious Vail. There were moments in the film that require you to stop and think, “Is this really happening?” or “Is this real?” Could it all just be Sam losing his mind, or is it a part of a greater plot to replace Sam with Sam? That’s about all I’ll say so I don’t spoil the film for you. I’m pretty sure that you’ll be able to figure out the intent of the film as you watch it, and your questions will be answered. I found myself enthralled. I could not look away, as the overwhelming majority of the film was intense. Rockwell seemingly attacked the role with every ounce of energy he had, like a kid out of acting school trying with all of his will to perform in such a way as to launch a career. He seems to attack all of his roles with that same intensity, but this felt different. It could just be that I was excited to see such a great idea translated into such a great science fiction film, but I think I’m objective. At least, I hope I am.
As much as I enjoyed the film, I have to admit that this film is not a must see for everyone. The movie is a very long conversation between Sam Rockwell and himself. If for some reason you are not a fan of Sam Rockwell, I’d steer clear. If you don’t want to think too hard while watching a movie, I’d steer clear. This is an intelligent film – it doesn’t require an intelligent audience but it does require an audience willing to put in a little effort. If that’s something that appeals to you, or if you just really want to one of the best, most original and thought-provoking science fiction films in recent memory, then you just can’t get any better than Moon. The project itself required an immense amount of imagination and serious dedication on the part of young Duncan Jones. There are big things in his future, and yet as many projects as I’m sure he is to receive, Moon will be one film that will be tough for him to top. It really is a travesty that this film isn’t opening in more theaters across the country. If you live near a theater that is playing Moon, take advantage of that opportunity. This film comes with my highest recommendation. It engaged all of my senses and left my brain tingling. Of all the different films I’ve seen this year, Moon was the most complete from top to bottom. I loved it.