Moon This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 24, 2010
Moon, directed by Duncan Jones, is definitely more along the lines of a classic science-fiction film than a modern variation. Its bleak message and outlook, accompanied by a 'shiny and bright' setting, make it sort of a homage to those sci-fi classics, ala 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris Alien, Blade Runner, etc. It's not about the technology or even any sort of action, but about a social commentary that runs deep through character and/or the concepts present in the film.

In Moon, we're presented to Sam Bell, an otherwise average man working on a lunar-based station. His job is to collect Helium-3, Earth's latest energy source, from the droving Harvester machines that scourge the moon, and then ship them back down to Earth. However, to ensure quality work, Bell is required to fulfill a contract that places him in this line of work for three years - away from his wife and child. Two weeks before the end of his contract, though, an accident occurs which triggers a strange sequence of events and uncovers a deep government conspiracy.

The themes of isolation, paranoia, and homesickness are all brought home with Sam Rockwell's performance as Sam Bell, with the only other "person" - and main character - being the virtual intelligence system GERTY. The two play off of each other very well, with crisp dialogue and a good script to back it up.

The visuals are also very impressive, especially for an indie film with a pretty small budget. It mixes a bit of both old and new, using both miniatures and CGI where applicable to make the film have a unique look to it. The thematic material, as I stated, is also boosted because of the "shiny and bright" visuals of the station despite the grim subject matter of Moon.

Speaking of subject matter, Moon asks similar questions presented in Solaris and Blade Runner while also presenting a new, interesting, and slightly original narrative in which to ask these questions. For instance, what does it take to be a human being? What does it mean to be a human being? Is it right to subject someone to years of mental torture for the greater good?

The film's score is also quite impressive, sometimes having classical music playing when the shot is set in space, while a nice tension-filled, yet simple, score plays during the scenes in the station - adding a claustrophobic feeling to the station.

As for complaints, the film does drag a bit during the beginning of the film, which gives the viewer a rocky start with the film. Next, there are moments where, despite his performance, Sam Rockwell just can't complete what's he expected. There are moments where Rockwell just seems over-the-top, and there are also moments where it seems he just can't match the emotional trauma that comes with the character.

Regardless of flaws, Moon is still a great sci-fi film that pays homage to the older science fiction of years gone by. It's got a solid script, some great visuals, and good performances from both Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey as GERTY. A very impressive film, considering this is the director's directorial debut. While a lot of sci-fi films have come out in the past decade that have proclaimed to be important, I believe Moon is one of the few that is truly significant.

8/10 - Great

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