Moon [Film Review]

moonFilm: Moon
Release: June 12, 2009
Genre: Sci-fi/indie/existential
Rating: R

2009 has quickly become a great year for independent cinema. If you’ve been following our last three reviews, you’ve noticed that they all have been fairly positive for recent releases, but this one takes the cake. Moon, a film originally written and now directed by Duncan Jones, is a complexing tale of paradoxes that hangs almost entirely on the shoulders of the stunning Sam Rockwell.


The plot for Moon is a bit perplex. Sam Bell is an astronaut living alone on the far side of the moon on a three year contract to harvest H3 [energy] and ship it back to Earth. His only companion is a simplistic computer named Gerty [voiced by Kevin Spacey]. His only for of human interaction is sending and receiving video messages [there are no live chat capabilities due to what we are told is a down satellite]. His life is lonely and boring, but luckily, we meet Sam as he has 2 weeks left to service the moon. However, after an accident while on the job, Sam awakes in the infirmary with little to no memory of the accident. After slipping back to the crash site, he finds himself inside the crashed moon buggy and then the film gets elaborate and simple all at once. Faced with the paradox of meeting himself, the two Sams share awkward moments of silence before finding one believes he’s just arrived and one believes he’s about two leave. After a bit of work, the two Sams learn they are actually two of an unmentioned number of clones of the original Sam Bell. The messages they’ve been sending have gone nowhere and the videos they see are over a decade old. This opens the film up once more with a billion ethical and paradoxical ways that then leads us through the rest of the film.

As the movie plays out, Jones’ vision is fully realized without ever seeming to think too highly of itself. This film could have quickly taken a wrong turn by having the clones discuss something redundant like if they have souls or similar topics, but instead get a very specific character in each clone that fully believes they are alive and unique. Yes, there is the sadness of knowing they only know what a computer wanted them too and that the woman they think they love, Tess, is actually unaware they even exist, but that doesn’t drag down the film, it’s covered and then we move forward. There are no hang ups. It’s wonderful.

As for the acting, it almost entirely falls onto the amazing Sam Rockwell. He takes what is nearly a 90min. monologue and makes it captivating through riveting performances that will have you talking about him long after you left the theater. I’ll even admit to calling people to discuss how impressed I was with him. Remember the first time you saw The Dark Knight and instantly wanted someone to hand Ledger an Oscar? That’s the feeling you’ll get watching Rockwell. He works the film for everything it can be and it’s immensely enjoyable to witness.

Without giving too much away, let me just say that you’ll be glued to this film until the credits roll. It’s not rushed nor too deep, but rather an unprecedentedly perfect balance of popcorn flick and deep thinker. It’s not your normal summer movie, but rather an ingenious work of art. My hat is off to Jones and Rockwell. This film is sure to take them places.

Score: 9/10

James Shotwell
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One Response to “Moon [Film Review]”

  1. It was a pretty good movie altough some scenes just seemed unrealistic. I’d give it a 8/10