“Duncan Jones Directorial Debut Is A Masterful Film. Though Not 100% Perfect, When Compared To Hollywood's Latest Sci-Fi Endeavors, Its Flawless.”
December 29th, 2009
We all remember David Bowie right? The weird freaky rocker who, despite how weird he was, always managed to put out some great music. Well, he had a son and that son's name is Duncan Jones. Duncan Jones has skillfully and creatively crafted the modern day sci-fi epic. Moon, his directorial debut, is by far one of the year's best films and is practically the modern day re-telling of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Its not 100% perfect, but when considering the science fiction films that have been made recently, its a breath of fresh air.
Sam Bell is a lonely astronaut who's stationed on a lunar base. Its been three years since he was first stationed on the Moon and this is right were the film picks up. Sam is responsible for the mining deposits of Helium-3 which are used for fuel back here on Earth. His only companion is 'Gertie', a robotic voice who plays the role of a groundskeeper and helps Sam get along with his days. Voiced by Kevin Spacey, 'Gertie' is the modern day HAL. Sam Rockwell, I think, is one of modern day cinema's best actors and in Moon he delivers one of his best performances yet along with the help of Kevin Spacey who keeps things lively while still managing to inject some of his creepiness into the role.
The main twist in the film is when Sam finds another astronaut outside of his stations, more like a prison, and when bringing him in he realizes, its a clone. Not just a clone of himself but a younger version of himself. Now I won't reveal anymore 'cause then the whole film is ruined. The movie manages to be suspenseful and offer plenty of twists. The only problem with those is that if you tend to pay close attention to films and their narrative structures, they won't be all that surprising. Now I wouldn't go as far as to say that Moon is totally predictable, thats hardly the case, but by the end of the film you can pretty much tell what it is that just happened. Nonetheless, its still an entertaining work of fiction that's great to just go along on the ride.
Sam Rockwell is such a versatile actor its no surprise that he would pick a role like this. But what makes it work is the fact that he abandons his usual style of acting. We're used to seeing the man portray heart-broken idiots, dazed nut-jobs, and just plain dumb-asses, but here Rockwell delivers a tour de force performance which is utterly on of the year's best. Playing doubles is an easy job for Rockwell. It suits him. Scarily, in Moon, its a little bit too fitting but its still entertaining.
Other characters that make various appearances are Sam's wife and child wo he keeps in contact with through some chat thing. These characters are great but they could have been taken out of the film. Rockwell is the film's main protagonist and the star of the show, sure, but I think that the real scene stealer is Kevin Spacey's creepy yet friendly robot computer thing. A modern day re-invention of HAL from 2001 who plays off like the friendly Spacey we know with a style and sensibility of John Doe from Se7en.
Made on an estimated budget of $5 million dollars, this film does a great job of actually creating a world which is both believable an real. Sure we don't see much of the outside world but thats exactly what makes the movie works. It's all confined to the inside of this little space station just like its main protagonist. For a directorial debut Jones does fairly well in creating this psychological thriller which also doubles as a sci-fi epic. Sure the dialogue is a bit heavy handed and their are various characters that just don't resonate as well with the viewer but its still structured in a way that, after its 97 minute run time is over, you still want more.
Moon is definitely a well made film. Structurally its great, flawless if you must say. Its story and dialogue could have been better but all in all its an entertaining film that takes a common subject and them and puts a modern day twist on it. Moon is definitely the modern day sci-fi film and for what its worth, one of the year's best.