Lets just get that out of the way first up. It’s easily the best film I’ve seen this year and one of the best films I’ve seen in a long, long time.
First time director Duncan Jones (formerly Zowie Bowie, son of David) has, with a small budget, very little special effects and a relatively small star, crafted some thing quite special.
In interviews Jones said that he misses the kind of science fiction that he used to watch as a kid. The smart kind that made you think. Films like Bladerunner, Alien or 2001.
When I read this I realised how much I’d missed those kinds of films too. Sci Fi these days just seems to be about giant jive-talking robots or an excuse to show lots of ‘splosions.
Thankfully Moon is one of the former. It’s intelligent and thoughtful and stays with you long after you’ve seen it.
Unfortunately I can’t tell you too much of the plot without spoiling it. Many reviews have spoiled a specific plot point and I had it spoiled for me. Although it didn’t ruin the film for me at all and isn’t even really a twist as it happens in the first act of the film. Duncan Jones has even revealed the “twist” himself in interviews as he didn’t want it turning into a thing. However I think it’s more fun if you go into movies clean and I’ve already done too much just saying that there is a twist because now you’ll be looking out for it…. Oh no I’ve gone and hyped it too much and made it into a thing ahhh….
Anyway… What I can tell you about Moon’s story is this;
Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) has been stationed alone in a mining facility on the dark side of the moon for almost 3 years. The facility which mines Helium-3 is almost completely automated and Sam is really only there in case anything breaks down. A communications failure means that the only contact he has with the earth is by way of occasional recorded messages from his wife. The only company Sam has is a computer named GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey). With just a few weeks to go before he can return home, Sam is in bad shape. The isolation and loneliness has taken it’s toll and he has begun hallucinating.
During a routine excursion to collect the helium-3 from a mining machine Sam hallucinates again and crashes his rover into the miner.
Sam wakes up in the infirmary and GERTY tells him that he is recovering from his injuries. He receives a message from the company back on Earth telling him that a rescue crew is on the way to repair the miner and take him home.
It is at this point that Sam’s life becomes very strange indeed. If you want to know what happens next go and see the bloody thing.
On to the cast, what little of it there is. Sam Rockwell is pretty much the only person in the film and is in every scene. He is a revelation and manages to carry the film all by himself. I would not be at all surprised if he gets a few nods come awards season.
Kevin Spacey’s GERTY is the only other character in the film and his voice is a perfect match for the computer. Spacey does his best HAL 9000 impersonation but is able to display life and emotion despite the monotones.
Duncan Jones has done a superb job with Moon. His direction is simple and to the point. There is nothing flashy or OTT about the film. Instead he lets it’s ideas speak for themselves and as a result has ended up with a sci-fi film that does that rarest of things in this day and age, it makes you think.
He even uses models instead of CGI and it’s great to see their return.
And best of all, he’s able to tell and engrossing, complete story in just 90 minutes. That’s right, in a day and age where most films seem incapable of being shorter than 2hrs 30min, Moon is a full hour shorter than that. In fact it took less time to watch than it did to write this review.
I really can’t say anything more to recommend this film. Just go out and see it. And if you like it as much as did make sure you keep an eye on Duncan Jones. If his next films are anything like Moon then he’s got a great career ahead of him.