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Moon (2009)

Review: written Feb 2009

Low key absorbing sci-fi tale

Moon (2009)

At last, a return to that 70's vibe when sci-fi meant thought provoking, and not whizz bang gee whizz displays of special effects. Here, the illusion of a future world is perfectly maintained, but effects are very low key, and the emphasis is in drawing you into the tale, and even more into the character's head.

Sam Rockwell gives an amazing (set of) performances here, as the man on the last few weeks of his 3 week stint alone on the moon with only Gerty the robot (voiced by Kevin Spacey) for comfort. When he has an accident, his reality starts to get challenged and he questions who he is and how much of what he knows is truth. To say more would give too much away, but suffice to say the film's success is partly due to the slow burn but absorbing script, but at least as much again to Rockwell's performance, never less than convincing, and by the end, you may well want to go back and watch it again to grasp the nuances of what is going on.

The set itself is low key, and even one might say familiar, with elements of the sparse whiteness of 2001, and also the lived in but blocky 70's style of Space 1999 or even Silent Runnings, for those that remember that far back. It's interesting to remember that the director's father is David Bowie, and wonder how this might have influenced his visual choices, remembering Bowie's sci-fi outing in The Man Who Fell To Earth. Clearly the visual style owes a lot to past visual styles, but that does not mean it does not have its own originality. Gerty is no HAL clone for all his similarities, but an intriguing pseudo-anthropomorphised functional robot who is Sam's only companion as the movie begins. The music is similarly sparse and atonal, but it's simplicity suits the frame of mind being conveyed and the bleakness of the setting.

All told, this is no crash bang wallop special effects display - far from it, but it is nonetheless one of the best sci-fi stories around in years, because it actually IS a story and not just links of set-pieces. The resolution may irk you, or it may satisfy you, and certainly given how languidly the plot moves throughout the movie, it's a shame the ending is so quickly wound up with a few too many questions lingering.. but whatever your impression on viewing, you'll undoubtedly be thinking about it some days later.

Recommended thinking man's low budget sci-fi.

Moon (2009)

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