Directed by Duncan Jones.
Starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey (voice).
An isolated lunar astronaut begins to lose his grip on reality in a cerebral sci-fi thriller.
Moon is an independent sci-fi film directed by Duncan Jones (the son of David Bowie… that’s not relevant at all, just an interesting fact!). It is Duncan’s first feature film, and I thought it was a great success. I am not an avid sci-fi fan by any stretch of the imagination, however I really enjoyed this film. Here’s why…
Moon is not your typical science fiction film; it is not led by over the top special effects (although there are plenty in the film they are tastefully done), aliens taking over our planet or indeed dealing with anything extra-terrestrial activity altogether. It is more of a character driven film, and this was what made the film stand out above most I have seen this year.
Sam (superbly played by Sam Rockwell – the character and actors names both being Sam is not coincidence, for Duncan Jones wrote the part specifically for the actor) is coming to the end of a 3 year stint on the moon where he has been gathering resources to take back to earth and help ease the the planets natural power problems. He has been consistently assisted by his faithful computer GERTY (expertly voiced by Kevin Spacey). After an accident in a moon buggy, Sam finds out the real reason he is on the moon, but most importantly, he finds out who he really is.
It is his journey of self-discovery that makes this film a cut above the rest. When the truth is revealed (I was going to include spoilers in this review but I want to encourage people to see this film so thought against it!) the audience can really feel for the character and some interesting issues are raised.
The screening of this film I went to was at the Prince Charles Theatre by Leicester Square, and the film was followed with a Q & A session with director Duncan Jones – which was just as good as the film, and also made the movie seem even better than the original viewing alone. Duncan covered a lot of aspects regarding the film (technical, narrative etc.). There are several very funny moments in this film, but it is far from a straight comedy. Duncan said that he added comic elements (some that were suggested by Sam Rockwell) to allow the audience to escape momentarily from a tense situation. Of course this is not just apparent in this film, but the comedic moments compliment the other elements perfectly, creating the right balance that make this film really enjoyable.
Moon won Best British Feature Film at this years Edinburgh Film Festival, and has been recognised not only in U.K but in America as well. It was made on a budget of £2.5m, which is relatively high for such an ambitious debut feature project. A lot of people have been saying in reference to District 9 (which also had an extremely low budget in relation to its content – just $30m) “imagine what the director could have done with more money”. However, this does not apply to Moon, as although the special effects are fantastic in terms of engaging the audience in the world of the movie, if they had been over-done, which a higher budget may have encouraged the film-makers to do with this film, it would have taken away the character driven narrative which pulls the whole project together.
I can honestly say, regardless of the budget, Moon is one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in a very long time, and I would highly recommend film goers to see it. As I mentioned previously, I am not a big sci-fi fan, and this film will appeal to a wider audience. I really rated this film and give it a firm 8 out of 10.
Jon Dudley is a freelance film and television journalist and his 17-minute short film Justification was shown at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.