Released: 8 Oct 2009
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey (as the voice of Gerty), Robin Chalk, Matt Berry, Dominique McElligott, Kaya Scodelario, Malcolm Stewart, Benedict Wong
Director: Duncan Jones
Screenplay: Nathan Parker, from a story by Duncan Jones
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
Running Time: 101 Minutes
The last place you'd ever expect to find yourself
In director Duncan Jones' sci-fi psychological thriller, astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is nearing the end of a long contract maintaining a mine - in isolation - on Earth's Moon. With only the companionship of his robot GERTY (a very HAL 9000 Kevin Spacey) to keep him from going crazy, Sam begins to wonder about his sanity following a near-fatal accident on the lunar surface.
Lone astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) has just two weeks left of a three-year stint on an isolated energy-mining site on the moon. He anticipates his return to earth with eagerness, sharing his thoughts with GERTY (voice of Kevin Spacey) and watching video footage of his wife and daughter - live crosses aren't accessible so he has to put up with recorded messages. A problem arises on a distant harvester that Sam is responsible for and he sets off to investigate but has a serious accident. Awakening some time later from the accident, some unexplained events force Sam to question his existence on the moon, the past three years of his tenure and his future.
Director Duncan Jones has captured an eerie essence of the complete isolation that would be felt by a lone astronaut by shots of the distant earth from the moon, using long scenes with little dialogue and having Sam talking to himself through his routine existence. Almost monochromatic, the seemingly colourless surroundings are only broken by Sam's mini-garden, which further adds to the contrast. Shots of the lunar harvesting are impressive and add to the credibility of the production.
Sam Rockwell conveys the bleakness of Sam's situation, talking to himself, sometimes interacting with the seemingly ever-present 'big-brother' GERTY and trying to keep himself motivated in what would be extraordinary and enduringly difficult circumstances. The role is pretty much a solo effort with his character basically on screen for the duration and he successfully digs deep to confront his himself. Kevin Spacey is sublime and just perfect as the voice of GERTY - smooth, alluring, suggestive and with a hint of menace that may or may not exist. There is always a question of just where GERTY's allegiances lie - is he for or against Sam?
The average running time is more than ample and may even be too long for some who might find the pace a little slow, but this is deliberately used to suggest the severity and ruthless nature of the situation. Offering an interesting and thought-provoking place to be in, Moon does suffer a little from its low budget but it does however shine when these limitations encourage innovations from the script, giving Sam Rockwell a few extra challenges, which he more than rises to. Moon is a welcome science fiction thriller that for once doesn't rely on big-budget action and scenery but its limited release might thwart any attempts to fully realise its potential.
Rating : ****