Moon (2009) – Film Review
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominque McElligot
by Matt Callard
Impressive for a debut film to so quickly become anointed in the cerebral space movie canon. But the eerie Moon already stands alongside 2001, Contact and Gattaca as a chin-stroking sci-fi classic.
The undervalued Sam Rockwell at last gets a lead as Sam Bell. He is a blue-collar Joe with a matter of days left on his contract as the sole inhabitant of a moon colony which harvests energy and sends it back to Earth.
He’s looking fairly raggedy when we meet him. His only company is Gerty, a clunky robot (voiced by Kevin Spacey) who cuts his hair for him and provides downright inept psychological counselings. When the communications with home break down, Sam’s fragile links with humanity disappear. And then he starts hallucinating.
“Good old-fashioned ideas keep you gripped”
Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son, fact fans) assimilates a glut of influences into a tight and claustrophobic whole. Just as dramatic inertia is creeping in, he ups the ante by bringing in a clone of Sam Bell. Albeit a younger, angrier clone, who insists he is there to fulfil the contract the original Sam started years ago.
Moon is a brave conceit, if a slightly mind-boggling one. But the film is nevertheless well executed. It respects the genre’s codes by not relying on special effects and lavish production values and instead uses good old-fashioned ideas to keep you gripped.
A careful, intelligent movie where originality and storytelling outweigh a deficiency in momentum.