Moon Review

18 02 2010

The best science fiction is the kind that takes a look at humanity, and examines what it is exactly that makes us who we are. It examines themes that we all face, at one time or another, just in a fantastic setting.

District 9 was a perfect recent example of good science-fiction, and it dealt with a very heavy subject: apartheid and racism. Some say it dealt a little too lightly with these, but that’s the point of sci-fi, isn’t it? To help us face things in our world and in our lives that are terrifying in their very conception, if not in their execution? To help us see ourselves in dire situations without the harsh reality of what’s going on in the world today forcing us to turn our eyes in repulsion. Duncan Jones’s second film, Moon, is a good example of the best of science fiction, dealing with identity, paranoia, and loneliness.

Set maybe 50 years from now, Moon stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, the sole occupant of the Lunar Corporation’s Helium-3 mining operation on the Moon. He has come to the end of his contracted 3 year tour of duty, and he is feeling the effects of the extreme isolation. His only companion for the last 3 years has been GERTY, a smiley-faced robot voiced by Kevin Spacey. GERTY has that benign, lazy speech pattern that made HAL-9000 so creepy, but the little screen displaying GERTY’s “moods” in emoticon form offsets your suspicions. It seems almost too cute, at first, but after GERTY is around so much he really is kind of comforting.

The heavy lifting in this film is done by Sam Rockwell, and his performance is nothing short of amazing. Throughout the movie he goes from a range of emotions, from bored to angry to depressed to freaking the fuck out, and he sells every scene and every line. I’ve always heard that Rockwell one of the underappreciated great actors, but until this film I hadn’t seen a whole lot of proof of that. Now, after Moon, I want to see every movie he’s done, because he is brilliant. My wife commented that he needs to play Edward Norton’s brother in a movie, because they look so similar. I’d like to see that too, but more so to see two geniuses show all these pretty boy Abercrombie & Fitch and Hot Topic models they call actors these days exactly what the craft of acting is.

I really recommend Moon, and I recommend watching it cold, no trailers, no long reviews, not really knowing what it’s got in store for you. Moon has some pretty neat twists and turns, and it really should be experienced without preconception. Just know that if you like good sci-fi (not The Island or Transformers 2) then this movie has your name all over it.

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