Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Directed by: Duncan Jones
Synopsis: Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.
I’m pleased to post this guest review from Troy Balmayer of the stunningly good, minimalistic sci-fi movie from 2009, Moon. If you would like to read more of Troy’s, frankly better than mine, reviews then head on over to his blog here. It’s well worth a look. Thanks for contributing Troy! If anyone else would like to contribute reviews or anything of a musical or movie nature to the Cafe, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyway, on with the show. Here is Troy’s review…
A sublime sci-fi film with visuals paralleling stunning acting from Sam Rockwell. This is a movie that doesn’t hold back on intelligent writing and the story is dark and layered. An outstanding debut film from director Duncan Jones, who manages to capture the isolation and beauty of the moon in equal measure.
The look of this movie is beautiful and conveys the fear and entrapment of solitude to great effect, simply with the majority of the colour palette being white to feel clinical. This bland hospital appearance already begins to make the world of ‘Moon’ feel suspicious, as if the cleanliness of the base is hiding something. It’s suitably futuristic too with the theme of mining for energy being the sole purpose Sam Bell (Rockwell) is working on the moon. Clearly the main plot of discovering clones sets this film in a worrying time where Sam realises his life is a lie. The addition of a talking computer for the base, voiced by Kevin Spacey comes in as a dodgy model, it’s clear it adores helping Sam but it too knows the true nature of this mission. The basic look of Gerty is adorable but somewhat sinister too with its screen conveying bright yellow emoticons that speak more than words do.
Sam Rockwell is just great in this film and acts the roles of each clone well. He manages to set apart each version of Bell with characteristics of deterioration and anger on top of other emotions, that help us relate and empathise more with each Sam Bell. The interactions between them are perfect and help translate that idea of facing yourself to great results. The time spent alone had him seeing things but now his world could be even worse thanks to finally getting what he wanted – a companion on the base. It’s a simple enough story idea of clones, but handled to mastery and the numerous discoveries the Sam’s make, keep piling on the layers of ominous motives from the company ‘Lunar Industries’. The ending is also ambiguous to how the events on the moon will all work out for the people on Earth. A great open ended finale to leave questions burning in the mind.
I can’t finish the review without mentioning the score by Clint Mansell which is amazing. The music of his work always manages to cause chills and here it does that with ease once more. It sounds beautiful and magical but with a hint of haunting danger that matches the developing plot. Also with the repetition of the main theme it achieves the mirroring in repetition of the company motive’s 3 year cycle.
A smart and fascinating film of science fiction that builds up the tension and showcases the satellite above our heads with intrigue, imagination and wonder.