I have seen a few celebrities in person in my life. Hulk Hogan, Rupert from Survivor, Teck from The Real World Hawaii — they all have something in common. Reality stars, all. However, in 2008 I found myself in Los Angeles, walking down a sidewalk I encountered an actor I liked at the time who has since become one of my favorite actors working today.
The man I am speaking of is Sam Rockwell.
This is his most recent film.
Moon centers around Sam Bell, employed by Lunar Industries and alone on a three year contract on the Moon to harvest a new element that has been discovered. Sam believes he is near the end of his trip, and is eagerly awaiting returning home to his wife and young daughter when he gets thrown for a loop… better yet, several loops.
The movie has a couple of major twists, and there is no hiding their impact. I’ll try to be as delicate describing the film as possible to avoid spoiling these events because they are pretty intense to watch as they develop. This movie can wonderfully boast the same thing as thrillers like The Prestige, as you’re genuinely never expecting what is going to happen next.
The brilliant part of this is that the rate of discovery is beautifully paced. You get just enough to keep your mind focused and heart racing, but you never get more than one puzzle piece at a time. There is no wasted motion, no glossing over events. I like to call this the Rate of Discovery.
Films of this nature often hinge on their Rate of Discovery. They give you too much at some points and seem to be filler at others, and it can really affect the final product of a film and make it feel uneven. With Moon the ROD is perfectly handled. The audience is on the same path as Sam Bell. When he finds something out, we find it out. Their aren’t secondary characters to blow the twists for us or telegraph them way ahead of time. Sam gets information, we get information, and it kept me entranced for the entire duration of the movie.
Other than that, the other major element of the film is Sam Rockwell’s performance. It’s phenomenal, to say the least. He shows a side I haven’t exactly seen from him before. He’s broodishly intense at some moments, overtly broken down at others, other moments mysterious and charming. He really takes a chameleon role and crafts it into something that is pretty special to watch.
First time director Duncan Jones (who I found out is the son of David Bowie) does a terrific job writing and directing here. The script is fantastic, and the key is the Rate of Discovery I mentioned earlier. However, the dialogue is good as well, and the technical lingo isn’t too obscure to follow. However, what is most impressive about Jones’ work here is that this is a relatively low budget Science Fiction film. He homages great films from the genre, borrowing some tactics, and they work quite well. In particular, the scenes on the surface of the Moon that are created using model miniatures are interesting and actually look very vivid and real.
Clint Mansell’s score is haunting and eerie, and it companions the film nicely. Mansell’s work has always been top of the line, and here it’s no different. We get Sci-Fi music without relying on major effects or gimmicks, but needless to say the music fits well.
Moon is a great movie top to bottom. It’s obvious the people who worked on the film cared a great deal about the project, and it is definitely different from most mainstream movies. It’s clear the people involved were influenced by Science Fiction movies from the late 70s-Early 80s, but their work here is so ahead of those films they obviously outdid their influences. Duncan Jones shows a knack for detail and a capability to pen a very solid script, and Sam Rockwell delivers one of the finest performances of 2009. Moon is a must-see for an Sci-Fi fan, but also for anyone who just likes seeing a damn good movie.
Final Score: 9.3/10 (Outstanding)