Moon (2009)

Directed by David Bowie’s son (Duncan Jones) and made for a budget which wouldn’t pay the main star’s salary in most Hollywood sci-fi movies, Moon is a rare gem.

Starring Sam Rockwell and the disembodied voice of Kevin Spacey, Moon tells the story of an astronaut named Sam Bell (Rockwell) working a three year solo mission on the moon’s surface.  His job is to harvest the Earth’s latest renewable power source, helium-3 and to rocket the end product back home. It’s a lonely existence for Sam, his only company coming from an intelligent computer named GERTY designed to cater to his daily needs.

Moon is not an explosive, action packed sci-fi, but instead is that rarest of wonders; an intelligent, thoughtful sci-fi movie which manages to avoid the slow and off-beat pacing which undoes so many such films. Rockwell is a talented actor who can play understated and over-stated with equal panache. Here, he makes Sam Bell a sympathetic and well-rounded character, utilising subtlety and silence.

Spacey reminds us why he is such an enduringly popular actor, injecting real pathos into his vocal performance. For Rockwell to offer such depth without anyone to play off is incredible to watch, much as Spacey’s ability to breathe life into a disembodied computer voice is a tour de force.

Duncan Jones showed himself to be an exciting young prospect with Moon. His subsequent film, Source Code, wasn’t as good but did far better commercially due to a large advertising campaign and the involvement of Jake Gyllenhall.  His next film isn’t due until 2016 but will be expected to draw a greater box office take still, given it’s the long anticipated adaptation of the famous ‘Warcraft’ computer game. If Moon is anything to go by, Warcraft could prove to be the best computer game adaptation thus far. Either way, Moon is a film that everyone should watch at least once. It shows not only how much can be accomplished on a low budget, but also that good science fiction doesn’t necessarily need aliens and huge explosions to entertain.

Another excellent, intelligent piece of science fiction, Moon raises some very interesting questions. Rockwell is incredible in the main role and Spacey’s voice work in the role of GERTY is equally excellent. This isn’t a film with huge battles, flying saucers or carnivorous aliens and yet it captures the imagination just the same.

A poignant, interesting film, fully deserving of the critical acclaim it received.

Reviewer: Dave Coughlan

Courtesy of Mark Hillary (Flickr)

Courtesy of Mark Hillary (Flickr)

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