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Friday, January 21, 2011

Rockwell Has His Work Cut Out For Him on 'Moon'

Moon: 5 out of 5

(I continue to throw up some older reviews, now and again.)
Sam: Sam Bell reporting to central. Everything running smoothly. Rock and Roll, God bless America. Over and out.
Just awesome. Another example of a film where I'm just sitting back trying to pointlessly find reasons to criticize it, when I honestly just enjoyed the whole thing. Why should I hold back? I was completely engaged and loved this movie. Its a true space oddity (more on that overused joke later) and it once again solidifies Sam Rockwell as pretty much my favorite current actor.

Tess: I know you're really lonely up there, but I'm proud of you.
Rockwell stars as Sam, an astronaut/technician working on a station based on the moon. The film is set slightly in the future, where Earth now depends on material sent from the moon to keep its energy problems under control. Sam's job is supposed to keep him aboard this moon station for three years before his contract is up and he can go back home to his family.
GERTY: Two weeks to go Sam.
Sam: Two weeks to go buddy. I'm goin home.
Accompanied only by various plants, a model building hobby, and a computer voiced by Kevin Spacey (which imbues the machine with personality and the indication of emotion, but not necessarily real emotion) Sam has been getting by, but after three years, his time is up...wait for it...HOWEVER, an accident occurs, putting Sam in the infirmary and a new turn in the story to occur, which I wont talk about. (Please avoid the new trailer for this film, I did and loved the direction the film took).
Sam: GERTY, is there someone else in the room with us?

Although occurring early on in the film, the surprise of this new development makes the film all the more interesting and provides the story with a strong leaning towards older types of science fiction, while dealing with the issues of loneliness, personal identity, and paranoia in wonderfully handled ways.
Sam: I don't know what's happening. I'm losing my mind.
Sam Rockwell is excellent in this. He pulls of a range of qualities given to his character that have to make us care for him and want to see where this story goes. There are a lot of tricky elements, in more ways than one given the story, that are handled extremely well do to how he has shaped this character.


Director Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie (yep, that's why its a terrible and overused joke), does a wonderful job at setting the stage for this story and continuing to deliver throughout. Despite being a sci fi film, the film isn't given an overt amount of visual nuance, it all works in a very subdued manner to create its atmosphere and keep a consistent tone. The score by Clint Mansel (of Requiem for a Dream fame, among other scores) is wonderfully haunting and beautiful, with a bit of irony thrown in occasionally as well.

Also impressive is that despite being a sci fi film set on the moon, the film was made for five million. Dealing with exterior shots on the moon, vehicles, space stations, and some other elements involving the turn in the story, I was delighted to learn this fact and appreciate the quality look to this film. Miniatures and very little CG can still go a long way.
GERTY: Sam, get some sleep. You're very tired.
This film certainly knows that it shares a number of familiarities with other sci fi classics such as 2001, Solaris, and Alien (along with a little Twilight Zone), but it certainly embraces this without going too far or winking at the audience.

Its a quality entry into the realm of sci fi films that I found to be utterly engaging, well preformed, great to look at, and perfectly structured.
Sam: I wanna go home.

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