97 Minutes // USA // Sony Picture Classics
dir. Duncan Jones
Saturday, July 4th, 2009 – AMC Yonge & Dundas
starring: Sam Rockwell & Kevin Spacey
From the moment I found out about this project in October of last year, Moon has been number one on my personal “2009 films to see”. With one of my favourite actors of the decade in Sam Rockwell, a score by one of my utmost favourite composers in Clint Mansell, and being produced by my favourite studio as of now in Sony Picture Classics, this film had nothing to gain and everything to lose in my eyes. Much to my glee, it delivered as promised.
Moon kicks off with a blip of information about why this man, Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is in the position he’s in: alone on the Moon. Turns out that the radiation of the Sun is absorbed by rocks on the moon. These rocks are full of the Sun’s energy and are basically of an endless supply. Sam’s job is to stay on the moon, gather containers of the Moon rocks and shoot them through a parcel slot on the ship back to Earth. Luckily for him, his three year contract is almost up and he can go back home to his off-putting girlfriend and child (who is not his).
Pale, exhausted and ascetic, Sam is thoroughly lament and in dire need of returning to Earth. With the only company of his being a reverent robotic assistant in GERTY 9000 (voiced by Kevin Spacey) and a few petite hobbies that are dear to his heart, it appears that Sam has budded into a simple man. The only human interaction he has is with his selfish girlfriend and snarky owners, but even those conversations have to be sent back and forth because of the time delay between planets. The loneliness of Sam is trenchantly allocated to through seeing what Sam sees. Whether it be a hi-tech little center or the very dull and very bland landscapes the Moon has to offer, Sam’s lonely existence is shown with intellectual respect to the audience.
One day, after an exhausting viewing of one of his girlfriend’s videos and seeing the adorableness of his daughter, a distraught Sam takes the rock collecting automobile (a futurist tank, almost) out for a little spin to clear his head and focus on the final lap of his three year stay on the moon. He’s caught off-guard by a light out the driver’s window and thus crashes his machine into the harvester (a rather large futuristic harvesting machine).
Being aided by GERTY, Sam wakes up in the emergency room. After a few days, Sam wants to leave the prison-esque center and go on a voyage outside – GERTY decries this act, but eventually Sam wins out and takes the collector for a spin. He comes across a crashed collector and finds himself inside. Panicked and confused, he takes him back to the center and asks GERTY what’s going on. After a variety of confused emoticons gracing GERTY’s screen, Sam eventually finds out the truth and both Sam’s learn to cope with each other despite their clear differences – the first Sam is very susceptible and agreeable to a friendship while second Sam is very aggressive and far from being self-controlled – eventually growing to penchant and plot with each other.
The story is tacit in its approach – with logic and understanding, the viewer is taught to comprehend the film’s various intentions. There is a not-so-subtle examination of how big business keeps things lucrative that peeked my curiosity well. The execution of the subplot is intelligible, sharp and above all, quiet.
Clint Mansell’s adds in the score – an harmonic tune with an ominous vibe – to the film. Typically, his scores are one track with many variations and the typical formula is potent here as well.
With all these contortions and twists in the road, a film could go off course without noticing. Fortunately Duncan Jones had the ideal direction in mind for his co-written screenplay and keeps the project intact from the first moment to the last. Although the film does end quite hastily and tries to jolt a final, dying perspective of the world at you, it generally will please its audience.
On a final note, I’d like to point out the criminally underrated Sam Rockwell in what is his finest and most absorbing role to date. There is hardly a moment without Sam Rockwell in the scene and he plays two variations of Sam perfectly. He pulls a Nicolas Cage in Adaptation. but less humorous and more tragic. A coy performance that will unfortunately be passed over at this years Oscars, but hopefully you see it and can heed praise as well. [9/10]