Moon - A Space Oddity

                           Most of the big-budget science-fiction nowadays, don't show any respect for science or fiction. So, 'Moon' is like a statement for a true sci-fi movie. This film does not feature explosions. It does not contain endless, mind-numbing chase sequences. Instead, it's a simple idea-rich storyline that explores areas science fiction fans will find familiar. It tackles issues such as identity, individuality and the effects of isolation on the psyche and the soul. It is a refreshing attempt that respects the intelligence and the attention span of an adult. 'Moon' was shot in 33 days with a $5 million budget.

       A pitch-perfect introductory commercial clarifies that, in the near future, Earth's energy and environmental dilemmas have been solved by Helium 3 solar energy harvested from rocks on the far side of the moon. The station established to accomplish this vital task is manned by one man, Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), who at film's start is two weeks shy of finishing up his three-year tour of duty, alone in the base. Sam is not completely alone, though, as he shares the lunar base with GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), an artificial-intelligence computer system that has a robotic body with a screen that displays various emoticon-like faces to register its moods. 

                        As in most of the sci-fi movies, GERTY  is probably not to be entirely trusted since his only allegiance is to run the operations smoothly at the station. Things take a turn for the weird when Sam starts seeing things, specifically a young woman with long dark hair. While driving a rover to check on one of the massive harvesters, he thinks he sees her and accidentally crashes. When he returns to the space station, he discovers that a cloud of mystery hangs over him. Any way, it would be irresponsible to spoil the twist which  occurs fairly early in the film. 

              Since there are virtually no other characters in the film, much of Moon’s success rests on the shoulders of Sam Rockwell, a good character actor, who has not managed to break through into Hollywood stardom. Rockwell certainly meets the challenge, in keeping us engaged as the sole human on screen (much like Tom Hanks in Cast Away). His role also requires range - at times, his character shows confusion, anger, pain, and  detachment. So, Rockwell not only holds our attention but wins our sympathy too. 

                        Co-writer and director Duncan Jones's feature debut and, seems to be a surprisingly ambitious effort. A serious sci-fi movie, by a new comer without any huge budget and studio backing is a rare thing. The movie takes the element of "science" in "science fiction" seriously, and Duncan is determined that his view of the future be believable. Cinematographer Gary Shaw, who also made his feature debut, gives us some genuinely beautiful and haunting images when Sam is outside the safety of the station. 

                      Clint Mansell’s score pulses and beats with eerie life, filling the stark visions of the movie with a welcome energy and tone that still never seems obtrusive or jarring. Nathan Parker's excellent screenplay holds our interest with each of Sam's conundrums. 

                     "Moon," like the other films, leans heavily on an existential theme which is inevitable in any philosophically inclined space movie for the obvious reason that man is very small and space is very big and space doesn't give a damn about tiny little men. In "Moon," however, space isn't the primary uncaring one; it's the multi-national corporation. Some viewers have complained that the main twist is predictable, but that's not really the point. Moon isn't a mystery thriller, and most of us will work out what's coming; the interest lies in how and when Sam will discover it, and how he'll react. 

                      Moon is not a film about its special effects, but rather it is about underlying questions: who we are and what we’re willing to do to continue our lives as we know them. The film’s conclusion is perhaps a bit too tidy, but it works well enough to give the story a sense of narrative resolution while also suggesting that the larger issues are a long, long way from being resolved. 


Moon - Imdb 


Arnie said...

I have somehow missed this, thanks for sharing Arun

T F Carthick said...

Sound exciting. I should catch up on this movie.

Arun Kumar said...

@Arnab Maity, Thanks for your comment, and do watch the movie

@The Fool, Thank you. Yeah, a exciting movie to watch.

The Retro Brothers said...

I saw this a couple of years back and really enjoyed it.

I will have to watch it again and refresh my memory.

Your write up is excellent. As you say, Rockwell really holds the film together - without his portrayal the film would have fell completely flat.