Tuesday, July 28, 2009

22 July 09 - Moon

Moon feels like a distilled version of a Philip K Dick story. I compare to Dick as it uses science fiction concepts to explore the very nature of humanity. I say distilled, as you can actually follow the plot the whole way through without losing your sanity. Hurray!

Newcomer Duncan Jones (son of some guy called David Bowie) brings a high concept pitch – moon setting, futuristic mining machines, split screen mayhem – and somehow manages to create a cinemaworthy piece on a miniscule budget. As such, there are no “look what we can do with all our money” shots, and instead just a tight, focused piece that puts plot and character before visual effects, but managing to avoid that “BBC budget” feel.

Without spoiling the plot too much, as part of the joy is in letting realities unravel before your eyes, Moon orbits around Sam Bell, a man coming to the end of his three year stint supervising giant mining machines on the moon (humans have found a new source of energy up there, thus saving our energy crisis back home). His only company is a slightly creepy robot computer type thing, and with live communications blocked by a downed satellite his only real link to the earth is through pre-recorded messages from his wife back home. It’s when Sam’s replacement arrives that things start to get interesting. Read other reviews and the whole concept of interesting is blown out the water via the medium of spoilers, but compared to the others Cinemafool reviews are more considerate and, let’s face it, better.

Anyway, Sam Rockwell takes on the lead role, pretty much carrying the whole film himself and doing a damn fine job of it, building a character who is believable and sympathetic. The creepy but amusing robot companion is perfectly voiced by Kevin Spacey and neatly echoes 2001’s HAL. Jones’ direction is intimate and creative, particularly when tackling various splitscreen type shots (it’s like he thought “hey, we’re on a tiny budget. What’ll make this even more difficult…?)

Moon’s plot would perhaps need some more meat on its bones to bring it out of short story territory and into novel glory, but it’s a charming little film, beautifully handled by Jones and superbly acted by Rockwell. Certainly standing out from the current crowd, Moon delighted enough to raise a CF3. Marvellous.

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