Monday, August 03, 2009


I like my science fiction when the "less is more" philosophy is embraced. Bloated budgets, rampant use of CGI and over the top action sequences aren't really my thing. Unfortunately, those elements grace the majority of the science fiction centered films now so I don't get to see a lot of them I truly enjoy despite my love for the genre. My favorite sci-fi is more connected to ideas, the future and the emptiness of space. Moon is such a sci-fi film.

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.


Under the Mooch said...

I can't wait until everyone has already seen the movie. You can't talk about all the most interesting ideas in the film without major spoilers. Although the mystery is solved in the first half of the film and it wouldn't ruin the movie at all to know the "twist", it was still fun to watch not knowing what to expect. I'd hate to spoil it for someone.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

Yeah, this is one that is hard to talk about unless people have seen it. I really enjoyed it as you can tell be the review.

the hidden staircase said...

wonder if this is on dvd yet?! will check...nice review...sounds interesting!