Thursday, January 21, 2010

Movie Review: Moon

Moon, an indie sci-fi film by Duncan Jones (David Bowie's spawn) is an excellent space drama set in the not too distant future. Without giving too much away (and there are major plot points that could spoil this movie for you), I'll just state the plot overview. Sam (played by Sam Rockwell) is an employee of the LUNAR corporation and is stationed on the Moon to operate mining equipment that harvests energy from moon rocks. The whole movie focuses on Sam's three-year experience on the Moon and effectively explorers the internal loneliness of someone isolated in space. Sam's only real companionship during this time is in the form of a robot named GERTY (supremely voiced by Kevin Spacey).

The whole atmosphere of the film reminds me of 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as Alien. Jones creates a very realistic glimpse into the future of space travel and does it seamlessly on an astonishing budget of only 5 million. The subtle and slightly creepy score by Clint Mansell is superb. The same soft tones are heard throughout the movie and really add to the overall eeriness of the setting. The word "eerie" is the proper way to describe this movie. I believe I have a soft spot for these types of films that make it seem that something is not quite right. It's not really a scary feeling you get from watching but rather a sense of slight uneasiness. I felt the same way when watching other sci fi classics like Alien, Event Horizon and Sunshine.

The interaction between GERTY and Sam is excellent and Rockwell himself gives an incredible performance. He, along with Sharlto Copely of District 9, will not be nominated for an Oscar. I have no idea how the Academy can overlook these two performances. Perhaps the Oscars need to expand the Best Actor nomination list from 5 to 10 as well.

I can't really explain exactly why Rockwell's performance is so good without revealing too much of the plot. In fact, the LESS you know about Moon before you see it, the better. Trust me and go rent this movie immediately. You will not be disappointed. My only real beef with this movie was the ending. It seemed too abrupt and left several unanswered questions. Moon gets a near-perfect 4.5 out of 5 JR's and enters the Top 5 of my favorite films of 2009 (updated below). Duncan Jones immediately joins Neill Blomkamp as the flag bearers for the future of science fiction film-making.

#1 District 9
#2 Inglourious Basterds
#3 Star Trek
#4 Moon
#5 The Hangover
#6 Avatar
#7 Up In The Air
#8 Adventureland
#9 I Love You Man
#10 Up

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