MOVIE RATING: 4.5 stars (A-)
(Updated February 19, 2012)
It’s always interesting to me how I become aware of a film. Sometimes its from the obvious buzz throughout the mainstream media (television, print, online, etc.). Other times its from someone championing a small indie film that you might not otherwise hear of. Moon (2009) is one of the latter. I heard about this movie from the Filmspotting podcast. Moon is one of those films that just surprises you. I’ve noticed that Sony Classics has been putting out a bunch of interesting indie films these past few years, even when everyone is seemingly saying that indie film is “dead” because of the major indie studios that have closed. I for one think Indie film is more than alive and will be even more so with all of the new less expensive technology allowing filmmakers to make their stories more cost effectively.
What strikes me the most about Moon is the incredible acting by Sam Rockwell. He is the movie. Almost the entire film revolves around his character by himself, interacting with a computer named GERTY voiced by Kevin Spacey. The basic story of Moon is about Sam Bell, an Astronaut/Miner living and working on the moon for a 3-year stint. He mines a mineral called helium-3 that he sends back to earth for use as a primary energy source. The rest of the story is best left for the movie to tell. I think the less you know about this film going in, the better. It’s a character-driven mystery/thriller/drama that takes you on an interesting sci-fi journey that is atypical of the genre. It’s a sci-fi film more along the lines of Gattaca (1997) and Never Let Me Go (2010). It’s not really about all the cool technology and visual effects, but about the story and the characters.
The cinematography by Gary Shaw is great, along with the production design by Tony Noble. I’m still amazed at what they created on the screen with only $5 Million supposedly for the production budget. You never question being on the Moon or in the space station, because every little detail was thought through. Clint Mansell put together a solid score that helps tell the story well. Clearly there was a good crew involved in the making of this film.
I really enjoyed Moon. It’s indie cinema at its best and a good fresh filmmaking debut by new director Duncan Jones. I’ve watched the trailer to Jones’ new movie Source Code (2011) starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga. It looks interesting, but very reminiscent of a string of Tony Scott films. I hope Jones’ gives it a twist like he’s done with Moon. We’ll see how it’s received later this year.