Moon (2009)

Moon (2009)
  • Time: 97 min
  • Genre: Drama | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Duncan Jones
  • Cast: Sam Rockwell, Dominique McElligott, Kevin Spacey


With only three weeks left in his three year contract, Sam Bell is getting anxious to finally return to Earth. He is the only occupant of a Moon-based manufacturing facility along with his computer and assistant, GERTY. The long period of time alone however has resulted in him talking to himself for the most part, or to his plants. Direct communication with Earth is not possible due to a long-standing communication malfunction but he does get an occasional message from his wife Tess. When he has an accident however, he wakens to find that he is not alone. He also comes to realize that his world is not what he thought it was.


  • “Moon” is an amazingly different film. First, the film is a sci-fi film that is set on the moon. It has exceptionally nice special effects–yet only cost five million dollars to make!! Second, it only stars one guy–Sam Rockwell. Along with the voice of the computer (Kevin Spacey), and BRIEF glimpses at others through memories or over phone calls, this IS the entire cast! Third, and most importantly, the film really kept me guessing throughout and is thoroughly original! The film is the first full-length film of Duncan Jones–the son of David Bowie (Bowie’s real name, by the way, is David Jones). While he’s only made one film since (“Source Code”), I cannot imagine him not getting many more opportunities because his skills are so evident in “Moon”–a film he not only directed but he came up with the story as well! This guy is something.

    The film is set in the near future. To supply the Earth’s energy needs, NASA is mining Helium-3 from the Moon. On this moon base is Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell)–a guy who seems to be losing his mind. It’s probably because he’s been alone for nearly three years. What is obvious is that something is amiss–and he is either hallucinating or there is another version of him on the base as well! Yes, following an accident, he awakens to see another Sam Bell.

    At this point in the film, I KNEW exactly what was coming next. Well, I was 100% wrong!!! The film really took my by surprise and the dark turn really caught me off guard–and I really, really like that in a movie. However, I don’t want to spoil it. See the film yourself and see a wonderful example of a film that is highly original, intelligent and cheaply made! A truly unique film–and one that is available now on Netflix. And, like “Gravity”, it’s a space film with a tiny cast that thoroughly kept my interest.

    By the way, my only complaint about this film, and it’s minor, is that the movie is rated R. You do see Rockwell’s butt and I wish that scene was chopped out–not because I am a prude but because a lot of teens won’t be able to see the film due to it’s rating and some adults might avoid it as well. As a parent, I would certainly let my daughters see the movie–it’s really something special.

  • “I hope life on Earth is everything you remember it to be.”

    Moon marks the feature debut of Duncan Jones, the latest kid on the block with an incredible talent for science-fiction filmmaking. Along with Neill Blomkamp of the acclaimed sci-fi actioner District 9 (2009), Jones is one to look out for in the near future.

    Just as the late 70s and 80s brought us an era of truly great science-fiction films from influential directors such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, and George Lucas, more than thirty years on it now seems to have turned full circle. Is this the dawn of another sci-fi age?

    For hard-core fans of the genre, it is easy to guess which film most inspired Jones to create Moon, a brilliant, thought-provoking space drama directed with skill and craft. Yes it is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The use of hand-made miniature models set in a backdrop of empty darkness and the occasional blinking stars echoes Kubrick’s pioneering technique.

    Moreover, the art direction and set design of the interiors of the holding base in space (in this case on the lunar surface) largely resemble what is seen in Kubrick’s film as well as Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979).

    The comparisons do not stop there. Jones has shot Moon with a deliberate, slow pacing. The camera is often in motion, drawing viewers into the construct of its frame, pulling us into an alternate world where isolation rules. In Moon, most shots center on Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), the only major human character in the film (the other being GERTY, a HAL-like computer mechanically voiced by Kevin Spacey).

    Sam works for Lunar Industries which provides energy to 70% of the world’s population through the use of the moon’s resources. He is entering the final weeks of a three-year contract which requires him to man an outpost on the moon alone.

    Rockwell gives a solid performance that calls for a wide range of feelings. He aces the role and becomes the fulcrum in which the film relies on for emotional balance. Moon’s character study on Sam is generally excellent. Years of isolation can negatively affect our conscience and judgment. In the film, Sam hallucinates and gets himself into trouble. He wakes up to see a clone of himself.

    Is this real? Is the clone real? Is myself real? Moon explores psychological themes such as the state of being as well as the issue on the use of science and technology (i.e. cloning) for capital gains at the expense of human rights.

    The introduction of Sam’s clone in the second-quarter drastically changes the trajectory of the narrative; it does complicate things and will confuse the average viewer. The key is to focus and think abstractly. The director does not offer much explanation to why things are happening this or that way, but he does enough to create a climate that facilitates deep thinking.

    Moon may run less than a hundred minutes, but it packs plenty of concepts and ideas that are free to different interpretations. It is a highly intellectual film of top-notch standard (accompanied by a hypnotic score by Clint Mansell), and in my opinion, deserves to be one of the best pictures of the year.

    GRADE: A- (8.5/10 or 4 stars)
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