Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) has been working on the Moon for almost three years now, sending back to Earth parcels of Helium-3, the solution to our power problems. Alone. His only companion up there is a computer named GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey). A few more weeks and his mission will be over, he will finally come back home, where his wife and little girl are waiting for him. Unless there is a hitch…
Moon is Duncan Jones’ (David Bowie’s son) debut film, and offers a quite dark vision of life beyond Earth. When in most of sci-fi movies, space is crowded with alien races fighting against each other, or gigantic human spacecrafts are exploring the Universe in the search for a new home, we are here facing solitary confinement with a man on the edge. A man on the edge, because he has been there for almost three years, and cannot talk to his family because of an out of service live communication. After all this time, he finally started to talk to himself. The desolated lunar landscape surrounding the impersonal station also reinforces the feeling of absolute loneliness, and is beautifully rendered.
Sam Rockwell’s performance is also outstanding, exploring all kinds of emotions, as his character’s mental condition is constantly deteriorating with time.
On the other hand, the main aspect of the film might also be perceived as one of its weaknesses: why would a guy with a family, including a newly born daughter, go on a 3-year long mission to the Moon on his own, leaving them behind? Sam Bell’s job consists in the same routine, each and every day. That is where the film’s surprise comes in, introducing some interaction; the problem is that the nature and the secret behind this interaction are revealed pretty early, partly spoiling the atmosphere.
Additionally, in such a technologically advanced world, in a lunar station where everything is handled by machines, why should there be a human accomplishing such a basic task?
However, Moon is definitely worth the watch; the meditation on the conflict between the tendencies of technological progress to sustain our needs and human condition are served by Sam Rockwell’s amazing performance, maybe his best one.
DVD Release Date: 16/11/2009
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott