I attended a screening of "Moon" at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival in the legendary Paramount Theatre. There wasn't an empty seat in the 1300-capacity palace. Directed by Duncan Jones, "Moon" stars Sam Rockwell, one of our generation's most powerful actors. The notion of a film being unique seems unlikely in 2009. Not here. While "Moon" is a modern-day science fiction film set in the future, it pays homage to recent classics like "Blade Runner" and "Alien." Viewers will be dazzled -- fans of the genre will nod in approval. Science has developed a way to mine the rocks of the moon for clean energy here on earth. Private enterprise, in the form of a corporation, sends astronauts on a three-year work stint to carry out this ongoing mission. Sam Bell (Rockwell) is the latest to undertake this task, with the trusted robot GERTY by his side watching over the base's operations -- think HAL with a heart. Of course, things are not what they seem, and the viewer is mesmerized as puzzling and surprising events unfold. Cinematographer Gary Shaw contributes to the impression of the eerie stillness of life on the moon with the copious use of still camera and slow tracking shots, only using hand-held when necessary. Nicolas Gaster's editing is sure and steady, emphasizing the slow pace of Sam Bell's multi-year work assignment. Remember those pre-CGI days when special effects meant miniature land rovers on a bumpy table? It can still be done -- and be believable. "Moon" is evocative of the sci-fi greats whose visuals were done in-camera, i.e., on set as opposed to being created by computers in post-production. Sam Bell's unearthly home is comfortable yet aging like the patina of an old cottage. Nathan Parker's screenplay (Jones wrote the story but handed over screen writing duties to Parker) makes the most of Sam Rockwell's considerable talents. This was quite a physically demanding role, as well, and rarely has the actor been better (watch "Snow Angels," though). He doesn't just carry the film -- "Moon" is almost a one-man show and Rockwell conducts a master class. "Moon" is a classic, down and dirty (literally) science fiction film with a baffling mystery that challenges the viewer to live in the shoes of the protagonist. It's hard to imagine a better one than Sam Rockwell or a more effective, entertaining, and satisfying cinematic experience.
Action / Drama / Mystery / Sci-Fi
Action / Drama / Mystery / Sci-Fi
Sam Bell has a three year contract to work for Lunar Industries. For the contract's entire duration, he is the sole employee based at their lunar station. His primary job responsibility is to harvest and periodically rocket back to Earth supplies of helium-3, the current clean and abundant fuel used on Earth. There is no direct communication link available between the lunar station and Earth, so his only direct real-time interaction is with GERTY, the intelligent computer whose function is to attend to his day to day needs. With such little human contact and all of it indirect, he feels that three years is far too long to be so isolated; he knows he is beginning to hallucinate as the end of his three years approaches. All he wants is to return to Earth to be with his wife Tess and their infant daughter Eve, who was born just prior to his leaving for this job. With two weeks to go, he gets into an accident at one of the mechanical harvesters and is rendered unconscious. Injured, he ...
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December 30, 2011 at 07:45 PM