Set in the future on a base on the moon operated by one man, Sam (Sam Rockwell) is nearing the end of his three year hitch on the energy farm. He lives alone, sleeps alone, eats food out of plastic pouches alone, checks outlying equipment on the moon's surface alone, wastes time on his various hobbies alone--all of which is starting to make him crack up. Sure, he has a mechanized robot helper to talk to (voiced by Kevin Spacey), his incoming video messages from earth and his TV to keep him company but it's a lonely life.
The best thing Moon has going for it is Rockwell. Always a solid actor, Rockwell may deliver the finest performance he's ever given and he's been good in a lot of movies. One thing that makes this a challenge for an actor is he has to carry the film. Other than the video sections, where has cuts back to Rockwell watching the screen so he's still in the scene, and a few flashbacks, Rockwell is in every second of Moon. At times he's even double good as he has to create multiple levels and personalities to the same character. It's an impressive performance.
Moon kind of gets lost in its own loneliness and I liked it all the more for that. It's spare, simple, gets the feeling of isolation down and is slow--all good things in a science fiction movie! Directed by Duncan Jones, he smartly dwells on the little things that make this interesting--the character, the workmanlike setting and the bleak but beautiful moonscape. The moon is the next frontier space and Jones' exteriors look as desolate as any dusty western. There's something about seeing a man in a spacesuit walking around on a planet's surface that gets me right in the heart.
Moon is a smart little film with a terrific acting performance by Sam Rockwell. It's complex yet restrained. It's futuristic with a retro edge. It's emotional yet still icy. It's a well done genre picture that knows its a genre picture but isn't afraid embrace what it is. Instead of trying to do too much--it looks inward and gives us a very rewarding look at life on the moon.