“Moon”‘s success stems from Sam Rockwell’s terrific performance and filmmaker Duncan Jones’ ability to create a compelling and smart sci-fi thriller with a small budget and only a few actors. The story itself is a little bit “Blade Runner,” a little bit the “Doctor Who” episode “The Almost People,” with a little bit of “The Twilight Zone” for good measure, but has a sense of self and a style all it’s own.
Sam Bell (Rockwell) as nearing the end of a three-year stint on the moon base Sarang, harvesting energy to support the earth’s population, when he starts seeing and hearing strange things. Sam is completely alone, save for the company of GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey,) a rather disconcerting artificial intelligence computer with an on-screen emoticon for a face. Sam yearns to get home to his wife Tess (Dominique McElligott) and small daughter Eve (Rosie Shaw,) and seems to have a lack of trust for the computer that calls itself his friend.
When Sam sees a phantom girl while doing a routine job and crashes his lunar vehicle, life quickly deteriorates from isolated and lonely to frenetic and batshit crazy. Faced with a double that says it’s Sam as well, Bell must overcome his distrust for the duplicate and uncover the secret Sarang hides. Is Sam going crazy? Or is the company he’s working for, Lunar, covering up an aberrant secret?
I better not tell you anymore about the plot of this film (don’t look at the forums, don’t research it, just watch it!) but I will say that, while sometimes slow-paced, “Moon” is extremely well-done science fiction. Sam Rockwell’s performance holds your interest throughout and he does a phenomenal job playing two versions of the same person, but putting a unique spin on both men. Some scenes could be a little silly (such as a physical altercation between two duplicates) but Sam Rockwell does such a good job that he seems to just make it work.
The conclusion is crazy and heart-tugging but very well-thought-out and the movie might take a couple watches to fully understand. Strangely enough, the filmmaker, Duncan Jones is David Bowie’s son and was born Zowie (!) He’s planning to make this the first in a trilogy of films set in the same universe, which I would definitely love to see. He also wants to make a graphic novel companion to “Moon,” called “Mute.” He’s got an abundance of imagination and I really hope he can make it happen.
Do not try to predict the twist ending of this movie. Do not look it up. It’s really one of those movies that are better when you go into them blind, so to speak. I will post the trailer here, but I highly suggest that you don’t watch it until you see the movie. I’m not ashamed to say that “Moon” is much better than “Inception” as a mind-fuck sci-fi thriller/drama and should have raked in the about a million awards “Inception” got for it’s mediocrity. Sam Rockwell is primarily a character actor but he has proved he can carry a full-length feature with practically no one else on screen. Like “Cast Away” or “Buried,” this is pretty much a one-man show, and Rockwell rises to the occasion spectacularly.