Hailed as being the best sci-fi film since ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Moon’ is the lonely story of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) who is coming to the end of his three year contract on the dark side of the moon. Working for Lunar Industries mining Earth’s primary energy source alone with no-one but robot Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey) for company, the film follows Sam’s last two weeks of isolation.Unlike many films of this genre, Moon isn’t about aliens or distant worlds – the main focus is on Sam’s mental state and his ever-loosening grasp of reality. After an accident on the moon’s surface, his hallucinations and visions become more and more frequent and his paranoia gives the film a dramatic edge not often achieved in sci-fi films.
What follows doesn’t just raise questions within the audience of what is going on in Sam’s mind, but also gives the character opportunity to ask some deep-searching questions of his own, in a similar existential vein to ‘I heart Huckabees’.
‘Moon’ is an accomplished film that manages to retain audience interest throughout. While there are not necessarily a huge number of jaw-dropping plot twists, the film maintains a level of suspense that is almost Hitchcockian, with unexpected and yet brilliant revelations.
‘Moon’ is the directorial debut of Duncan Jones, son of rock pioneer David Bowie. Showing some signs of being influenced by Kubrick’s ‘2001: Space Odyssey’, this really is the dark horse of 2009, despite its limited cinematic release. The portrayal of Sam is a challenge for Rockwell and one he rises to with aplomb, balancing a fine line between creating audience empathy and yet allowing us to retain a safe distance from this unhinged and isolated character.
An emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, Moon is just simply splendid.