Moon – Review

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Moon is one of those films that I fell in love with as soon I’d heard the premise, unfortunately I had to go further afield than my usual cinema to catch it but I was glad I did because Moon has become one of my films of 2009. Directed by Duncan Jones the film stars Sam Rockwell who plays Sam, the sole miner on a Moon base where he extracts Helium 3 which has become a source of clean, unlimited energy for planet Earth.  His only company on the Moon is a robot called GERTY (Kevin Spacey) who overseas the Moon base and tends to Sam’s every need, he receives regular videos from his wife Tess and his 3 year daughter Eve.  Two weeks before the end of his three year contract Sam begins to hallucinate and fall ill, he begins to see visions of a teenage girl which cause him to have an accident whilst out on lunar surface, when he comes to things aren’t exactly how he remembers them.  Hit the jump for my impressions of the film.
The first thing you’ll notice about the film is how it looks, this is old school film making at it’s best.  The Lunar base is one massive set, all clean, stark white corridors which make it look like a film straight from the late 70’s / early 80’s when science fiction was massively popular, it’s quite clear that Jones pulled inspiration from films such 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien and THX 1138.  I think it’s fantastic that he’s chosen build the sets, it adds a sense of realism and authenticity to the film making the lunar base a very believable place cementing the idea that this film is set in the ‘near future’.  The film features several scenes which are set outside of the lunar base and rather than using blue screen and CGI , Jones has chosen to use miniatures for the vehicles featured in the film and drive them around via remote which I love purely because you don’t see it in films any more with most film-makers choosing to go the CGI route which if poorly done disconnects the viewer from the film but seeing these miniatures move slowly and quietly across the lunar landscape keeping this sense of realism and believability that Jones is striving to achieve in the film.

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Sam Rockwell is an absolute revelation in this movie, he’s rarely been better and I can’t think of many other actors that can pull off the role because he spends 95% movie alone with no on screen company with the exception ofanimatronic robot.  He balances the role pretty well between a working class guy who just wants to get home and a guy who may be going mad.  Talking too much about the role would spoil things and I’m trying to have a spoiler free review.  Kevin Spacey doesn’t have too much to do in the film, he keeps the voice of GERTY fairly monotone and straight forward but it’s great to see a big actor providing the voice, they could have gone for a no name actor to voice the part but Spacey has the voice to nail a role like this.  Duncan Jones chooses to provide GERTY with emotions by using a screen on the robots front to show what what emotion GERTY currently has.  The screen, coupled with Spacey’s voice means you’re constantly guessing GERTY’s true objective, suffice to say I was expecting the robot go HAL on us at any moment but I think people will be pretty surprised with how the robot is used throughout the film.

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Moon isn’t a perfect film by any means, my biggest problem with it is Jones feels that it’s necessary to explain everything in the film by having a big reveal before wrapping everything up in a neat little package when the film ends, only leaving the slightest hint that there is another story to be told.  I would like at least a little bit of the story to be left to the imagination but this criticism is a minor gripe in what is otherwise a wonderful example of science fiction cinema.

Moon has quickly become one of my favorite films of the year, Duncan Jones does with his measly $5 million budget what most directors struggle to do with $100 million. I really hope that somebody gives him a bigger budget to play with, I’m excited to see what he does next.

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