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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Moon (15) ★★★★
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.


Lets get one thing straight right from the start, Moon is a great film, a majestic piece of sci-fi, directed with an assured confidence and a leading man who has never been better. But what it is not is a classic. The reason behind this is that has been made in the wrong time. Let me explain.

Moon echoes many sci-fi movies of the past, 2001, Silent Running, Saturn 3 and to an extent Alien. If Moon had been made and sandwiched snugly between these films made in this era it would have no doubt have been dubbed a classic and be sat in many 'Top 10 ever made' lists. The problem is we've seen this before and although Moon is a work of unbridled brilliance you still can't help but compare to those other movies. This for me takes the edge off 'classic'.

The story of Moon is that of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) who while working on the Moon harvesting resources to help with Earth's power problem has a accident while out attending one of the harvesters. When he awakens he finds himself back in the base being nursed back to health by his computer colleague Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey). Once back to a relatively healthy state of mind he goes back to the scene of the accident only to discover himself still there. Strange.

The movie then enters its surrealism phase where Sam and his doppelgänger try to comprehend exactly what is going on and why they are both there. The great thing about the film is that it never tries too hard to explain things, everything flows smoothly and the story progresses evenly to keep you hooked. The reason behind this however is the performance of Sam Rockwell.

Rockwell is really the only actor present on screen in this movie and its on his shoulders whether the film succeeds or fails, and succeed it does. Rockwell is majestic, portraying the alienation and loneliness with a realism that defies belief. Kevin Spacey lends his monotone vocals to the bases computer, Gerty, who is clearly a nod to HAL from 2001 with added smiley face.

Its also hard to believe that this is Duncan Jones directorial debut. The way he has shot the film is undeniably a throw back to the movies I mentioned earlier, but brings to it an updated swagger which portrays the confidence of a film maker who's been doing this successfully for years. The visuals and tone of the film are quite astounding, with the score being a particular haunting highlight. Its a credit to Jones that he is being bounded around as being 'the new Kubrick' but as with most of these tags its best to ignore and continue doing his own thing. Its interesting to see what he comes up with next as he's set the bar very high.

Moon is a solid entry into the massive catalogue of sci-fi and although its a homage to past films it can still sit proudly on its own as an original piece of work.


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