Thursday, August 5, 2010

Moon (2009)

If you already know Moon--and enjoy old-timey, puzzle-solving SF--you don't need me to encourage you to watch it. But the movie did kind of slip in and out--so what a treat for those of you who don't know it.

Look at the good stuff: Sam Rockwell in virtually every scene; Kevin Spacey as a maybe-he's-HAL-from-2001 computer/robot--and speaking of Kubrick's milestone, a production design that hearkens to 2001's black-and-white Lego geometry (in a movie filmed at Kubrick's haunt, Shepperton Studios); all in a film directed by David Bowie's son (I wish my middle name were "Zowie").

The film itself deals with a tried-and-true SF concept: the isolated human (here, at a mining base on, you guessed it, the Moon) facing a mystery--with only his own wits and a reticent artificial intelligence (and all the Asimovian paradoxes that come with such intelligence) to depend on. It's cool to look at, intriguing, and sometimes funny--which brings us back to Sam Rockwell, about as dependable an actor a filmmaker could hope for. Once Rockwell accepts a gig, he gives it everything, no irony, no easy outs. He reminds me of Nicolas Cage--at least when the latter isn't just bouncing around special effects; and like Cage, Rockwell brings a nuanced, off-center quality--in other words, he makes us believe he hasn't read the script, and isn't sure what even he himself might do next. And if that weren't enough, Spacey once more plays his voice like a musical instrument of subtle range, keeping us guessing even when he tells the truth.

Despite Rockwell's and Spacey's assertive presence, Moon remains a solid SF story, its look and attitude crisp and engaging, its plot (again, aside from some inevitable cheats) both reflective and suspenseful. I'll admit I'm always eager for a solid dose of Golden Age SF; but even if you're not a like-minded geek, Moon will draw you in to its low-gravity center.


  1. Wonderfully atmospheric film, but dang it you couldn't see the ending coming from a mile away. Similar problem with Sunshine, IMHO.

    Would love to see a true, modern successor to 2001

  2. Thinkfeldie: "Would love to see a true, modern successor to 2001."

    I've always thought Scorsese should do a science fiction film; he might pull it off, but it would probably be more kinetic than contemplative. Still, I'm sure he'd find new ways to visualize SF tropes.