Moon (dir. Duncan Jones, 2009) – Towards the end of his three-year stint on the moon, astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter.
Duncan Jones delivers a deeply intriguing directorial debut, made compelling by Sam Rockwell’s immense performance.
For some years now, contemporary sci-fi has eased on big ideas in favour of metallic drones with insatiable appetites of destruction. It is rare to see an artful entry as thought-provoking as Moon, which raises fundamental questions of what humanity means.
Evoking hard science fiction in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris, Moon unravels a gripping existential mystery in the vast emptiness of space. Intrigue sustains on conceptual ingenuity, the focus on storytelling essential for its minimal budget.
The film centres on Lunar Industries astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), who is on a solo mission to harvest fuels for Earth. Each passing year makes his home and family feel more distant, and he tries to find solace in his sole companion GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey).
The robot’s inability to sympathise amplifies the aching solitude of Bell’s loneliness. Things worsen when he encounters an inexplicable presence that threatens his homecoming. He begins to struggle to cope with his inner strife and decipher the bigger puzzle at hand.
Every subtle move of his feels intense and heartfelt, as Sam Rockwell delivers a career-best performance in his isolated astronaut. Clint Mansell’s atmospheric piano score emphasises each sliver of his emotion, continually drawing us in.
With Moon, director Duncan Jones has made a powerful debut. His careful choices craft a riveting experience of the final frontier, rich in ambience and details. Nathan Parker’s sharp script backs his inventive story, delivering a intelligent twist that provokes thought into bigger themes of corporate greed and moral quandary.