Once in a while, a movie comes along that is almost impossible to write about. Moon has been shrouded in mystery in both trailers and other marketing, and it becomes incredibly difficult to review the film without ruining the most important plot points and discoveries made throughout its 96 minutes. With that said, this film does a fantastic job of blurring the line between big budget sci-fi films and actor-driven “indie” films.
To keep things as ambiguous as possible in this review, Moon is about astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), assisted by his computer GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), at the end of his three-year stint on the Moon where he sends back to Earth a resource that accounts for 75% of the all energy. From there, things begin to go a bit haywire.
The entire film was shot in 33 days, and done with a limited cast of under 10 actors. You would think the effects were that of a larger budget film, given how seamless the computer system, GERTY, was and the fact that it was completely done using CGI. According to director Duncan Jones, the film was shot during the WGA strike, which is how he was able to obtain some of the best special effects guys in the business.
This picture is easily what Castaway was for Tom Hanks, this time for star Sam Rockwell. The movie is based around Rockwell’s acting abilities, and he portrays many different extreme aspects of emotion. Also, about 90 of the 96-minute film, Rockwell is the only actor on screen, which helps. Rockwell has been an indie favorite since he portrayed Chuck Barris in 2002’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and he most definitely proves his acting chops in Moon.
Duncan Jones, who directed and came up with the story for Moon, does an amazing job behind the camera here. There are many twists and turns along the way, and plenty of misdirection, which is refreshing to see that kind of intelligence and forethought in writing. Not many know this, but Jones is also the son of musician David Bowie, which may explain his obsession with space.
Overall, the film flies by and keeps you enthralled through it’s entirety, throwing twists and emotional peaks at the audience every ten minutes. The ending is as satisfying as any indipendent film can be, giving you almost a nebulous conclusion, while still giving you some closure (it definitely doesn’t tie up the ending with a nice bow like a Transformers).
From there, the rest is up to you to discover, as Moon is more than just a movie. Instead, its an incredible and timeless science fiction story, worthy of old periodicals such as Planet Comics and Weird Tales.