Overlooked Film of the Week-#16
Way back at the start of this blog, the first Weekly Top Ten I ever published was my ten favorite sci/fi films. A movie I nearly put on that list was "Moon," and sometimes I can't believe it didn't make it. The year 2009 was a great year for science fiction, with "Moon," "District 9," "Avatar," and to a degree, "The Book of Eli." It was a tremendous year for that genre, and although "Moon" wasn't nearly as commercial compared to the other films on that list, it was still well worth seeing. The film was written and directed by Duncan Jones, who two years later would make the incredible "Source Code" with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monahan. I hope Jones keeps cranking out science fiction films because he's very good at it.
"Moon" stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell. We meet Bell in space on our planet's moon. Bell is nearing the end of his three year contract as the sole resident of Lunar Industries largely automated lunar mining base. Sam has overseen automated harvesters and launches canisters bound to Earth containing the helium-3 they have extracted. Bell lives with the robot GERTY (voiced incredibly by Kevin Spacey), and several communication problems from Earth to the Moon make it hard for Bell to contact his family. Recorded messages from his wife and daughter are all he is able to get.
Things get complicated when Bell has an accident from fixing one of the automated harvesters, an accident which makes him fall unconscious. When he awakes in the space station's infirmary, and he becomes increasingly suspicious when GERTY is receiving messages from Earth, telling the robot not to let Sam Bell out of the space station. When he sneaks out, Sam goes back to the accident site...and finds another Sam Bell sitting next to the harvester...
Much like Tom Hanks in "Castaway" and Will Smith in "I Am Legend," Sam Rockwell carries this movie on his shoulders. There is barely any other character work in the whole film and GERTY's artificial emotions are represented by the robots screen, with happy faces representing those emotions. When we start to see two Sam Bell's interacting with each other, trying to figure out if one or the other is a clone, its bracing work. It is proof why Sam Rockwell really needs to work more than he does. Spacey is eerie yet fascinating for the voice of GERTY. Watching this film on blu-ray is breathtaking and beautiful, really showing us a digital portrait of space. And the music by Clint Mansell? Truly haunting, really its that plain and simple.
The film's secret weapon is the big twist in the movie. Of course I dare not reveal what happens to the two Sam Bell's but it was something that really complimented the hard work by the cast and crew. It also helped "Moon" become unforgettable for me. When a movie can combine great special effects work yet have just as great a story attached to it, that to me is wonderful Hollywood magic.
Richly imagined and shot beautifully, "Moon" is something I bet you'll enjoy.