‘Moon’ explores the loneliness of space with some twists

How would you pass the time if you were stuck on the moon for three years? This question is one of many questions that are answered in a film from director Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) and fresh from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Moon.
On the far side of the moon in the near future, Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is about to complete a three-year contract with Lunar Industries to mine Earth’s primary source of energy, Helium-3 (HE-3). Sam has no way to communicate with anybody outside of the moon station lives in beside Gerty (Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey), a robot that express emotion via a computerized smiley face. As he has weeks before he can be reunited with his wife and young daughter, Sam starts to have frequent headaches, hallucination and suffer from a lack of focus. This causes him to have a near-fatal crash in a lunar rover. While recuperating at the base with some memory loss, he meets a younger and agitated version of himself. With a “support crew” on its way to the moon, Sam must figure a way to understand what is going on and why is he in the presence of his doppelganger.
Unlike this year’s first summer blockbuster, Star Trek, where space is bright and filled with a variety of humans and creatures, Moon is the opposite. In the film, space is all about loneliness and being surrounded by the claustrophobic confines of a space station. When it comes to going outside of the space station, it is dark and a grim-looking atmosphere as we watch Sam perform his daily duties in his space rover to harvest HE-3. The movie looks fantastic as Jones manage to assemble a top-notch effects team to recreate the moon’s surface and mining station by using incredible sets and impressively used CGI to the lunar environment.
There are many elements that infused into Moon that reminds us of past science fiction films. The dark and claustrophobic atmosphere in the film whether it is in the space station or the space rover is a very similar feeling that Alien has, except Moon has no alien stalking the crew. When he is not busy sending video messages to his wife and daughter, he interacts with Gerty. Gerty is also similar to the HAL 3000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, except Gerty does not have any homicidal tendencies. Instead, he kind of provides the comic relief in the film as a companion and foil to Sam.
At the pace of 1 hour and 37 minutes, the movie is slow in the actions that the main character does in the film. Being a character-focused feature, this is not really a bad thing as it explores all the emotions that the main character is expressing.
Aside from some unimportant side characters and Kevin Spacey’s voice, Moon is basically a one-man show for actor Sam Rockwell, who has played characters from with crazed goofiness (Choke) to crazed lethalness (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). This role requires Rockwell to tone down any craziness and settle with a more subtle performance. In this film, he goes through a variety of different moods and sometimes at the same time as Bell’s doppelganger. Rockwell is a great actor as his performances requires him talking to emotionless voice or to himself. His performance manages to become a main highlight for the film and carrier of emotions for the audience.
Moon is an original, but sometimes, slow-paced film that uses great sets and CGI to create our lunar atmosphere. It also has actor Sam Rockwell in his best performance as the film becomes Rockwell’s acting showcase that requires a range of moods to express several emotions that he is feeling.

“Moon”: 4/5 STARS

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