MOON (released on dvd Monday last) is the feature length directorial debut from commercials/ad director Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son) and it's a belter!
An independent Sci-Fi film that is a hark back to the likes of Alien, 2001, Solaris and even Blade Runner. Done properly with actual physical built sets, models and sheer graft and not relying wholly on CGI as many films tend to these days. It gives the film a realistic believable look and feel to it. (contains spoilers)
The film is set in a near future and focuses on Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) a miner for LUNAR Industries - a mining operation which is supplying Helium3 a gas which is helping reverse Earth's current environmental crisis. Nearing the end of a 3 year contract working alone with only a computer GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) as his companion, he yearns and looks forward to returning home to his wife and daughter in a matter of weeks. Due to a communication problem he has lost live contact with Earth and has to rely on recorded video footage to and from home adding to his frustration and torment, totally isolated his mind is also playing tricks.
When one of the mining machines breaks down he leaves base to repair it and during another mind fuck he crashes his vehicle and suffers a blow to the head. When he comes around he finds himself back in base and being monitored by GERTY. He goes back out to investigate what happened and makes a shocking discovery when he finds his injured self still out there in the wreckage! He brings his injured self to base and starts to search for answers. When the injured Sam comes around though deteriorating rather rapidly he is (naturally) also shocked to find another version of himself at base and both are hostile towards each other as they assume the other is a clone. when GERTY explains they both have edited memories from the original Sam some sense of truth and horror starts to unravel. This is further compounded when a rescue mission is announced to repair damage and wipe out the problem, them! The two Sam's then work together to try and get answers and save one Sam and help him escape back to Earth whilst also uncovering some shocking evidence.
The film explores loneliness, sanity, humanity and emotion in equal thought provoking measures. The film is unique in style and looks dazzling, the cinematography is sublime and sticks two fingers up to the cartoonish big budget CGI fluff that is seemingly the norm these days, this is a refreshing welcome change. Sure it uses CGI (it has to) but this film utilises it rather than letting it dilute it.
For me it's on a par with the modern classics mentioned above and should rightly be looked back on as a classic in years to come.
This though of course is not possible without the sheer hard work and brilliant performance of Sam Rockwell who puts in an exhausting thoroughly demanding shift as the lone character who also has to act out a dual role and does so to absolute perfection. He pulls it off masterfully in what is a superb performance which deserves more plaudits as does the film.
Highly recommended. 4/5