A sci-fi film made just like they used to.
Moon tells the story of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), the sole inhabitant of a lunar mining base coming to the end of a three year contract. Having spent so much time alone, he is, naturally, enormously lonely, and speaks to himself for company. His only companion is a computer called GERTY (wonderfully voiced by Kevin Spacey), who assists Sam in running the base.
Rockwell puts in the performance of a career, and does astoundingly well as Bell. The character feels thoroughly lived in, and it’s so easy to believe that he’s spent three years up here, all alone, so craving human contact of any kind that he touches the screen that he touches the screen showing his wife long after the message has ended and her image has faded. It is a one man tour-de-force, as while other characters appear briefly, it is Rockwell that occupies 99% of the screen time, and he never once loses your investment.
There’s also the fact that Moon looks, to my mind, simply stunning. The base was very clearly once cold and clinical, but now that has faded and been replaced by a very lived in feeling. Little touches like the coffee stains in GERTY’s coffee-cup holder make this film seem fantastically real. Director Duncan Jones has a real talent for hauntingly beautiful shots, and the shots of the Earth from the Moon are some of the best. At one point, there is a sot of Sam, sitting in one of the lunar trucks, sitting, looking up at his home, and all he wants is just to be able to go there. When he cries out “I just want to go home”, your heart will bleed for him.
The Clint Mansell soundtrack perfectly underscores the growing feeling of generalised unease, that something is not quite right – very non-specific, but very real, nonetheless. It’s difficult to really get into what makes Moon so great without spoiling it, as the reveal of what is wrong comes relatively early in the film, and this film is far too good to be spoiled. Suffice to say that Moon is thought provoking, clever, and, ultimately, heart-breaking.
When I went to see it today in the cinema, I was surprised to find the film packed out. There wasn’t a spare seat to be found by the time the film started. I suspected (correctly, as I later determined) that most of the people there had tried to go see Harry Potter but it was sold out. I was therefore delighted when, afterwards, I overheard so many groups of people talking about how amazed they were by the film. It seems like Moon may, bizarrely, benefit from being released along side a box office smash. If it means more films like Moon get made in the future, then that’s fine by me.
To put it simply, Moon is the best film on release at the moment, and a sci-fi classic that can readily be mentioned alongside 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner or Outland. With a tiny $5million budget, the production team have worked wonders and produced what is possibly the finest sci-fi film of the decade. Simply put, go and see this film. You will not be sorry. A+.