A throwback to the golden era of 1970s sci-fi, Moon is a long overdue and morally relevant antidote to the overblown bombast of today’s science fiction.
Granted, its approach may not be all that original. It’s hard not the look past the strong influence of Kubrick’s Space Odyssey and Scott’s Alien, and maybe that’s the point.
But in a time where Transformers reign, and high budget marketing outstrips intelligent ideas, Moon is not only a timely film but a courageous one: the public will not flock in droves to see it, and thanks to its midyear US release it, will be forgotten come awards season.
Instead, Moon is destined to become a cult classic. But that is not a bad thing: some of the greatest films of all time are found in that category.
Forever-destined-for-stardom character actor Sam Rockwell stars as Sam Bell, an astronaut nearing the end of his 3 year contract harvesting renewable energy on the moon.
Heavily bearded and weary, Bell yearns to return home to his wife and child. His only companion is GERTY, a robot voiced by Kevin Spacey. But that changes after he comes face to face with his clone, who has taken residence aboard the space station.
As the primary cast member, Rockwell steps up to the challenge as playing two versions of the same character, delivering varied traits of his on screen personality from aggressive alpha male to hippie pacifist, all the while facing a loss of identity and struggle with mortality.
It is a one man show which rivals similar work by Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers and Nicolas Cage in Adaptation. Too bad that the inevitable lack of a marketing push will not secure Rockwell the Oscar nomination he deserves.
Moon is a stunning and intelligent directorial debut from long time commercial director Duncan Jones. With his space odyssey, Jones stamps his mark as a director to keep an eye on. Not only has he helmed an impeccably designed and acted science fiction film for a paltry $5 million, but he has also delivered a film with a strong ethical tone, which directly speaks of the evils of cloning.
Hopefully, some scientists will learn something from this science fiction.