Moon - Movie Review
Let's be honest here. Star Trek was really more of an action movie. The Star Wars series was really more of a glimmering fantasy. All in all, there really hasn't been much in the way of a quality science-fiction film in a while. The most memorable one in recent memory was the visually appealing The Fountain, in which even now I'm not entirely sure what actually happened in it. I can't claim to be an expert in the sci-fi genre, but I believe if anyone can it's probably David Bowie. Well, the film Moon has arrived, and it has been brought to us by Bowie's offspring, Duncan Jones (or Little Bowie as I like to call him and he, most certainly I assume, would like to be called).
Duncan, like myself, grew up watching movies like 2001, and it shows. Moon is a combination of many of the best elements from classic sci-fi films. An unnerving talking computer, spaceships, hallucinations, cloning, astronaut beans, these are just some of the tools Duncan utilizes. The greatest concern is that these tools would become derivative, yet their placement within the narrative gives them all new meaning.
Sam Bell (performed by Sam Rockwell) is quickly approaching his third year anniversary of slaving away on a mining facility to collect Helium 3, an ultra-potent power source unrivaled by anything else on our little blue planet. But Sam isn't on our planet. He's on the Moon. And for one reason or another, he's been working alone for the entire duration of his stay. His communication system is also on the fritz. It's no matter now though because in two weeks he's heading back home. Or is he?
Moon captures what it means to not just be someone not of this earth, but to be someone searching for their home. It challenges what a home truly is, what a companion is, and why it's important for man to seek out both, even if they may or may not exist. Where Sam begins at the start of the film is really the only "real" home he has. His only companion is his HAL-esque robot voiced by Kevin Spacey (the role he was born to play, baby), who actually tends to his needs in a way that is genuinely endearing and scary at the same time. The pre-recorded messages Sam receives from his wife are heart-wrenching as they only serve to accentuate the physical divide between himself and where he wants and needs to be.
Then Moon brings in another element by introducing a new character, and the very fact that this character is "new" in terms of his personality brings to mind a whole host of new questions, especially when we don't initially like him all that much. In doing so Moon makes us question the way in which we relate to ourselves. It takes our interior monologue or mental conversations and makes them tangible. At one point Sam tells his new companion that he's a "good guy," and that's one of those moments that resonated deeply within me.
Sam Rockwell is simply outstanding in this film. While mostly being on his own he makes the film into a full ensemble drama. Kevin Spacey not only gives GERTY life but makes him into a memorable and engaging character. Not to mention, Clint Mansell has outdone himself with the musical score. Just try to listen to what he does and you'll realize what this film would have lacked without him. All these elements are not just greatly executed, they're utterly necessary. It all works.
Moon isn't just the best science-fiction film I've seen in a while, it's one of the best films I've seen.
Do yourself a favor and watch it.