(This post originally appeared on January 17, 2010.)
I’d heard quite a bit of good buzz about this film, so we checked it out. And I’m glad we did, because it’s excellent.
Sam Rockwell, who really carries this movie, plays Sam Bell, an employee of a corporation that mines Helium-3 (a cheap, clean energy source) on the Moon. Sam is the only person in the mostly automated station, and his job is to collect the cylinders of Helium-3 mined by some mobile harvesting machines and send them back to Earth by rocket. There are problems with the communications system, so the only contact he has with Earth is through delayed messages. He does have a robot called Gerty (I’m sure the letters stand for something, but I never picked up what it was), voiced by Kevin Spacey.
The isolation gets to Sam after a while, but he has a three-year contract that’s almost up, so he’ll soon be going back to Earth. Before that can happen, though, some vaguely sinister things begin to happen, and eventually Sam’s life on the Moon turns downright weird, not to mention dangerous, because (cue spooky music) he may not be alone in the mining station after all.
Despite that set-up, MOON isn’t a horror movie, although it’s pretty creepy at times. It’s pure science fiction, the sort of low-key, intelligent yarn you might find in a Fifties issue of GALAXY or F&SF. The special effects aren’t flashy at all, but they’re very effective. Rockwell is in every scene and does a great job. It’s really his show, along with the direction by Duncan Jones (the son of David Bowie, I believe, who was also in a good science fiction film, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH). If you’re a science fiction fan, I can’t recommend MOON highly enough. It’s not a swashbuckling spectacle like STAR WARS (hey, I love those, too), but it is a smart, compelling film.