"250,000 miles from home, the hardest thing to face...is yourself"
(I watched this film on DVD)
Moon is a small budget British science fiction film; not exactly the movie that will make flocks of teenagers run to the theatres to see. The film won the British Independent Film Award for Best British Independent Film, and won the BAFTA for Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer. Not too shabby. As mentioned, this is director Duncan Jones’ feature length debut into film. The movie itself was written specifically for star Sam Rockwell (seen most recently in Iron Man 2 as Justin Hammer) and as homage to sci-fi movies from the 60’s and 70’s (2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris, and Alien to name a few).
The movie starts with the question “Where are we now?”, and discusses the state of the world, and talks about how we now use the moon to capture the suns rays to power 75% of the world. Simply from the opening credits it is apparent that this movie will rely heavily on beautiful scenery. Sam Bell (Played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell) is the lone crew member on the Moon, under contract for three entire years (that’s a lot of alone time). His single companion is his robot assistant GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey). Sam’s job is to extract Helium-3 from the Moon’s soil, to be used as an energy source back on Earth. Sam apparently left a loving, pregnant wife and his soon to be born daughter behind for this 3 year duty. It seems as if his family back on earth is the biggest factor holding him mentally together as he waits to be with them again.
Sam’s mental state is clearly dwindling as we see him start to see things, including a woman sitting down at his base. Another one of these hallucinations occur when he sees someone standing on the lunar surface and nearly dies because of this. After his accident, Sam overhears GERTY talking to some Lunar Industries executives and learns that GERTY is supposed to keep him from exiting the lunar base. Sam however finds a way for GERTY to allow him to leave, and investigates his crash site.
Now, before I go any further, I have to say if you are interested in this movie at all, that you should stop reading now, skip to my concluding paragraph and read my final thoughts on the film. I recommend this because at this point in the movie things change quite a bit, and I don’t wish to spoil it for you.
What Sam finds in the crash site is a barely alive other Sam (What a twist!), he brings this new Sam back the base, and tries to come to terms with this revelation. Both the Sam’s believe that the other one is a clone of themselves. The rescued Sam is clearly a lot more mental then this new Sam however, and states that he is nearly done his three year service. The new Sam apparently just arrived. Many more events happen throughout the middle of the film including the two Sam’s trying to find out why they cannot contact Earth on a live stream, who exactly is the Clone and the rescued Sam becomes physically ill.
Apparently the “Three year term” is actually the life span of these Sam clones and this is why the rescued Sam is deteriorating both physically and mentally. There are many more revelations throughout the last act of the film. These however I shall not get into detail with, and I will allow you to see the end yourself. I will however say that I personally was very satisfied with how it concluded.
Moon is a breath of fresh air in a genre filled with big budget blockbusters and Man vs. Extraterrestrial special effects laden films. The acting is top notch, and the approach of “less is more” works wonderfully in the bleak setting the cast and crew have created. Sam Rockwell carries the film to great success with every line he delivers and especially in the way we see him deteriorate throughout the film. Everything from the direction, sets and the music make Moon an amazing sight to behold, especially on only a 5 million budget (too bad James Cameron couldn’t make a science fiction movie this good with 100 times the budget). If you are like me, and consider yourself a fan of slower paced, less “action packed” science fiction films, do yourself a huge favour and watch Moon.