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, and makes an ominous discovery in this psychological sci-fi film starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey. For three long years, Sam Bell has dutifully harvested Helium 3 for Lunar, a company that claims it holds the key to solving humankind's energy crisis. As Sam's contract comes to an end, 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 starting to make Sam uneasy. With only two weeks to go before he begins his journey back to Earth, Sam starts feeling strange: he's having inexplicable visions, and hearing impossible sounds. Then, when a routine extraction goes horribly awry, it becomes apparent that Lunar hasn't been entirely straightforward with Sam about their plans for replacing him. The new recruit seems strangely familiar, and before Sam returns to Earth, he will grapple with the realization that the life he has created may not be entirely his own. Up there, hundreds of thousands of miles from home, it appears that Sam's contract isn't the only thing about to expire.
Duncan Jones, director and co-writer of Moon, has a lot to live up to. His father is legendary glam rocker and consummate performer David Bowie. While not exactly following in the footsteps of his old man, when you're the heir of such talent and originality a lot is expected of you. Add to that the weight of making a movie that nearly completely surrounds one actor, and the chips don't exactly seem stacked in your favor. Duncan Jones, though, handles the pressure admirable and creates a modern sci-fi masterpiece.
As I've stated before, in my opinion science fiction is at it's best when it's trying to relate to the world around us. Duncan Jones, and first time screenwriter Nathan Park, create a believable future in which an energy crisis on earth dictates the need for another energy source off planet. In so doing, the premise leads to an indictment of the corporate world's lack of sanctity in human life. The screenplay is masterfully written, creating real characters that you feel for, in a very real world.
Among what really makes this film pop is the visual style and the special effects. Duncan realized the Moon base in a visual style reminiscent of the Nostromo in Alien, giving us something to latch on to in science fiction. Also adding to the realism, just like in Alien, is that fact that we're not seeing an amazingly clean, bright future, but a real, and somewhat gritty future. For a film made on the cheap during the writers strike over a period of only 33 days, the special effects look more real than most of big blockbusters that have come out this past summer. One of the reasons for this is because rather than use CGI to render the outside scenes and special effect, Jones chose to use miniatures and visual effects lending more realism to scenes that could have possibly looked cartoonish and taken away from the gritty dramatic feel of the rest of the film.
What really shines through in this film though is the acting. Sam Rockwell is a real tour de force playing two sides of the same coin. Playing the Sam who has been on the Moon he plays a calmer more plaintive version of Sam, and in playing the new Sam to arrive on the Moon base Rockwell plays him as an arrogant hothead. Never at any point do we get the feeling that these two characters are talking to air, or that they aren't in the same room, Rockwell's interactions with himself always feel genuine and believable, which is hard to attain, especially when practically the whole movie requires him to act against an actor who isn't there.
This is one of the rare films I don't have anything bad to say about. I highly recommend this film if you like science fiction, but unlike most sci-fi that comes out nowadays, this isn't an action packed extravaganza. This is a great character study with subtext that you can grab hold of. But even more than that, it's a very entertaining ride!
More than 1 year ago
Tired of watching the same action, romantic comedy, horror movie over and over again! Do yourself a favor and check out "Moon"!
Sam Rockwell is phenomenal as Sam Bell! He once again brings the perfect blend of quirky, funny & dramatic that he is well known for - "Choke", "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind", "Snow Angels", "Matchstick Men" & "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"!
Sam Bell has a three year contract to work for Lunar Industries. Fuels are in shortage on Earth and his responsibility is to harvest and periodically send back supplies of helium-3, the current clean and abundant fuel used on Earth. There is no live communication link between the lunar station and Earth, his only interaction & friend is with GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), the intelligent computer whose function is to attend to his day to day needs.
With two weeks to go, he gets into an accident at one of the mechanical harvesters and is rendered unconscious. Injured, he awakens back at the station in the infirmary, he assumes assisted by GERTY. GERTY tells him that a rescue team named Eliza will come to the station to repair the wrecked harvester. After his recuperation, he takes an unauthorized trip back to the broken harvester, where he makes an unexpected discovery. Bell begins to doubt his sanity, then his true identity, then the company and GERTY's willingness to do what is best for him.
Great storyline, characters, acting & a one of a kind psychological thriller!
Highly, highly recommended!
More than 1 year ago
Unlimited supply of energy from the surface of the moon!!! Private company runs mining operations and one person oversees the work. Unlimited profits. Could happen some day. Also the problems which may occur when living by one's self running the operations with only a talkative computer ala HAL 9000 to keep you company.
Interesting story and the acting is superb! A study of isolation's effects on a person and what lengths a Corporation would go to maximize their profits. Pretty scary and sad, but enjoyable movie. Very slick special effects. Highly recommended if you enjoyed the likes of 2001 or Solaris. 5 stars for Duncan Jones who wrote and directed it and thanks to Trudy (Sting's wife) who financed it.