Moon Directed by: Duncan Jones Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: R
Plot: A mining engineer (Rockwell) stationed on the moon faces complications when he uncovers something about his project only weeks before his scheduled departure date.
Who’s It For? This is sci-fi fare paced for an intelligent crowd. Fans of Jones' father (a guy named David Bowie) might be interested in trying to find possible correlations with Moon to Ziggy Stardust, "Space Oddity," etc.
Expectations: Hmm. Sam Rockwell, space, and a vague one word title. Was this going to be a spiritual story? In a Man v. Man way?
Actors: Sam Rockwell as Sam: Rockwell does nothing in Moon that is particularly out of this world, but the success of his performance is that he is never tiresome. As an isolated astronaut who converses only with himself and a computer, Rockwell can make the whittling of his wooden models as intriguing as his moments of near insanity. Regardless of how much soul that director Duncan Jones has put into the film, Rockwell is the heart that keeps it beating. Score: 8
Kevin Spacey as the voice of Gerty: Robots that are main characters need the same amount of presence as any human lead. Ship computer Gerty is an example of this idea's success, as his character design and casting create a simple significance reminiscent of other popular robots (HAL 3000, etc). Spacey's calm voice makes for a good robot monotone, and the smiley faces that stand as Gerty's only visual expression says so much more than black lines on a yellow circle normally do. Score: 7
Talking: The dialogue in this film is not a problem. Rather, the script is basically a one man/one robot show, with Rockwell enabled to run wild with script pages that allow him to speak to himself a lot. Score: 6
Sights: Shot entirely on Shepperton Studios, Moon's sets (particularly the interiors of Sam's station) are spectacular. The cinematography adds to the film's beauty by capturing Sam routinely moving through these areas with breathless grace. Contrary to other science-fiction films, Moon's whimsicalness remains intact even when it is blatantly using models.
Sounds: Frequent Darren Aronofsky collaborator, Clint Mansell, graces Moon with an astro-romantic score that is infallibly beautiful. Taking a page from Kubrick's book of space, Jones matches his interstellar cinematography with a piece of classical music. For the record, we do not hear Strauss but Mozart - and frankly, not enough of him. Score: 8
Best Scene: The film's opening credits offer a wonderful first impression of the awesome aesthetic experience of Moon. It should be noted that marking this moment as the film's best does not indicate a sort of downhill slope.
Ending: To give away the ending is to give away the twist that makes Moon special. If anything, the ending may feel a bit abrupt.
Questions: There are a few uncertainties that can't be explored in this review. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a question or two I need to ask Duncan Jones myself.
Rewatchability: The type of film that is beautiful to watch and probably even more fulfilling the second time...kind of like that underrated Danny Boyle movie, Sunshine.
The zero-gravity aesthetic grace of Moon is disrupted by sharp plot turns that seem to take the film temporarily off its smooth axis. The unique story has a few ideas that are proposed too easily and swallowed with even more quickness by its body and soul, the intriguing Sam. Rockwell is an impressive force, but not even his magnetism can keep the film from floating out too far - at times Moon begins making a normal ninety-five minute running time seem a bit stretched. This starring shuttle fueled by Rockwell is not as contextually busy as it may appear, but a trip to the gorgeous Moon would be worth it, even if its just to look at the star(s).
Final Score: 7/10