Moon, directed by Duncan Jones son of David Bowie, is a 2009 science fiction movie with a very small cast, in fact it almost entirely features one character with the only other human characters appearing on video (of which there are roughly four). This is because Sam Bell works entirely alone on the moon to provide energy for Earth with the aid of computers and a AI/robot called GERTY. Besides that he has no one but himself for company and himself to rely on 😉
Sam starts seeing strange things and suspects that everything is not as it seems. The audience is left to wonder whether he is loosing his mind or whether there really is something going on. About one quarter of the way into the movie there is an accident and that’s where the shit hits the fan and Sam learns the truth.
Since this process of uncovering the truth and how Sam’s character reacts to it is enjoyable I’ll black out any spoilers. Suffice to say there is a SciFi twist, however Moon is not the action SciFi but rather the high-concept SciFi. It is not flashy or action packed but rather psychological and ideas-driven, exploring ethics of corporations, workers and future technologies specifically cloning. It has a bit of an old school feel to it reminiscent of Silent Running and 2001 : A Space Odyssey.
There aren’t really any special effects besides some low-gravity on the moons surface and perhaps this is a good thing because the gravity in the movie is one of the areas it falls down by being inconsistent. They clearly only ‘bothered’ to do the low-G effect some of the time, perhaps for budgetary reasons. However the key special effect they pull off so well you probably will not even notice it is one. Spoiler: More than one Sam. The visuals of the lunar landscape also impress with their stark beauty.
Sam Rockwell does a fine job holding the almost one man show together with his performance. You may wish for other voices at times but arguably you are vicariously experiencing his oppressive loneliness. The performance is done in a very realistic, almost documentary-like way, so it appears natural rather than scripted with very frail, human moments. Often movies like to overtly explain everything for fear the audience will miss it, but Moon is more subtle with some things are left unsaid and the viewer left to read between the lines.
When it comes to the finale in my opinion there were more dramatic actions Sam could have taken which may have made for a more interesting climax: Waking up all the clones. To be honest it doesn’t really climax so much as conclude with the same slow pace with which it began. Again, I suspect budget being the reason and it would have been nice to see what the film makers could have produced without that restriction. Of course it would have been a different movie.
This is the first time this concept has been explored in a Movie seriously considering the consequences and ethics of cloning (it has been explored before in non-serious ways). Moon will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who like thought provoking conceptual Science Fiction Moon is a work of art.
Trailer not included in this review as it is one of those ‘the entire movie in 2 mins’ ones and it ruins it. Just watch the movie.