“Moon” was directed by Duncan Jones based on his original story with screenwriter Nathan Parker. It stars Sam Rockwell as astronaut Sam Bell who is near the end of a three year stint as the sole employee on a lunar base on the moon gathering a clean energy resource that helps Earth’s fuel problems. With only the company of a robot GERTY voiced by Kevin Spacey, Sam’s loneliness has gotten to him and he begins to hallucinate.
This movie rests almost entirely on Sam Rockwell and boils down to a one-man show. His character is isolated in this moon base and after a discovery, he begins to doubt everything he has believed to be true in his time there. He plays multiple versions of himself overtime with and without facial hair and injuries and somehow keeps it all straight.
Rockwell’s performance as Sam Bell is masterfully done in a way that few people could ever accomplish. I am in shock that he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for this film. It is a true test to his power of endurance, skill, nuance, subtlety, and raw emotion and he carries it through with flying colors.
Bell’s biggest goal is just to get back to his infant daughter and his wife whom he left back on Earth. With two weeks to go, every event seems blown up in scale to hindering his return. Their presence is always in the back of his mind and he is often reviewing time delayed tapes sent from his wife and dreams about her as extra motivation to persevere.
This story feels like a blend of the claustrophobia and psychological mind games found in “Sphere” (especially with the added element of Kevin Spacey’s voice) with the extra isolation of space like in many movies like “Apollo 13″ and even “Alien”.
Kevin Spacey’s GERTY has a smiley face icon on one of its panels that changes expression to try and interact with and take care of Sam Bell. It walks the fine line between being suspiciously enigmatic and occasionally sweet as Sam’s company. Spacey’s dry, comforting, and emotionally even tone really builds suspense as the audience tries to figure out what the robot’s true agenda might be.
Visually, the moon looks amazing, almost as if it could have been shot on location. The design of the stations and vehicles seems very realistic.
This science fiction is a well-thought out puzzle that unfolds slowly over time. It has an older feel with the pacing and themes and as always, sometimes technology can get the better of us. The transitions are seamless and the story amazingly well told and engaging. Some of it is heartwarming, some is disturbing, but all the ups and downs are worth it. I really can’t go into it any further without giving away major spoilers suffice to say this is one of the BEST movies of 2009 by far and I am so glad I finally got to see it. Please see it if you haven’t!