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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.85%
Just Average: 3.85%
Pretty Crappy: 7.69%
Sucks: 5.77%

4 reviews, 28 user ratings

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by Mel Valentin

"A remarkably self-assured debut by Duncan Jones."
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 52ND SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Thought-provoking, intelligent science fiction tends to be conspicuous by its absence on film. With the exception of Steven Soderberghís ("Traffic," "The Limey," "Out of Sight" 2002 remake of "Solaris" and Richard Linklaterís ("Before Sunset," "]Waking Life," "Dazed and Confused," "Slacker") 2006 adaptation of Philip K. Dickís novel, "A Scanner Darkly," science fiction films have relied on blockbuster-sized budgets as cover for thematic and narrative deficiencies. Moviegoers this summer will get four big-budget, science-fiction-oriented films, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," J.J. Abramsí reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise, "Terminator: Salvation," the first film in a new trilogy in James Cameronís 25 year-old franchise, and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," the sequel to Michael Bayís non-cerebral 2007 blockbuster. Luckily for science fiction fans, thereís an alternative: "Moon," Duncan Jonesí remarkably self-assured directorial debut.

In the near future, most of the worldís energy problems have been solved through Helium-3, a naturally occurring gas used as fuel for nuclear fusion thatís abundant on the moon. Lunar Industries (LI) has a monopoly on mining Helium-3, establishing the Sarang lunar base on the far side of the moon. To keep the baseís automated harvesters running efficiently, a lone miner-engineer-astronaut lives and work from the lunar base. The latest miner-engineer-astronaut, Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), is two weeks short of completing his three-year contract. For the duration of the contract, Sam has been alone, with only GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), a company-provided AI that runs the base, and, with a live feed inoperative, taped messages from his wife, Tess (Dominique McElligott), to keep his loneliness at bay.

Samís health begins to deteriorate: bad headaches, loss of focus, and even hallucinations. On a seemingly routine repair mission to fix a stalled harvester, Sam sees a woman and crashes the lunar rover into the harvester. When he awakens in the lunar baseís med-lab, GERTY informs him heís suffered a concussion and will make a speedy recovery. Sam, however, canít remember how he returned to the lunar base or the accident. When Sam attempts to venture outside to investigate the crash site, GERTY refuses to give him access. He gets outside, of course, but to say more would be to definitely ruin Moonís most important plot twist, one that simultaneously overturns everything we knew or thought we knew about Sam and Lunar Industries and one that leads, inevitably to Moonís primary thematic concerns.

A first-time director with a background in advertising, Jones developed the story treatment for Moon, but handed off screenwriting duties to Nathan Parker (who receives sole screenwriting credit). With Moon, Jones wanted to pay homage to the cerebral science-fiction films of what heís called in interviews and in the production notes the ďGolden AgeĒ (roughly 1970s through the early 1980s), including Stanley Kubrickís 2001: A Space Odyssey, Andrei Tarkovskyís Solaris, Douglas Trumbullís Silent Running, Ridley Scottís Alien, and Peter Hyamsí Outland. Thematically, Jones and Parker also drew on science fiction/cult writer Philip K. Dickís ground-breaking novels and short stories.

In a nod to the 70sí influences and thematic concerns on Moon, Jones decided against computer-generated visual effects and instead went with the old-school approach to the visual design and visual effects provided by the UK-based Cinesite. Rather than rely on expensive CGI, Jones relied primarily on miniatures for the exterior lunar scenes. Jones even went as far as hiring effects veterans who worked on Silent Running and a set designer who worked on Alien to design the lunar rover. Jones also decided on a self-enclosed, 360-degree set for the lunar base to add to the realism. Grit and grunge were added to the baseís interior to give it the function-first, aesthetics-last look prevalent in 70s films.

That aside, "Moon" only goes as far as Sam Rockwell will take it. Jones wrote "Moon" with Rockwell specifically in mind (after a meeting for another, unproduced project). No stranger to challenging work, Rockwell captures Bellís multiple moods, different states of mind, and physical changes (especially after the big plot reveal) with an almost effortless ease. Heís never less than sympathetic, but never pitiful or pitiable. Rockwell sells Parkerís dialogue and Samís emotional (and physical) journey without relying on histrionics or overacting. If anything, Rockwell gives the type of performance for this type of role that will be dissected in acting classes (yes, his performance really is that good).

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18247&reviewer=402
originally posted: 06/19/09 17:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2009 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell overrated bore skip it 1 stars
3/28/16 Aj wales Dreary overated. Story poor. What was the whole point. 2 stars
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6/13/12 Josie Cotton is a goddess Slow but good 4 stars
10/19/11 Magic This movie beats other sci fi movies with five times its budget. Rockwell's acting. Whoa. 5 stars
6/11/11 Merle It is a great movie to put you to sleep. 2 stars
4/21/11 Ace-of-Stars My only complaint was waiting for Sam to share his more grim discoveries, which never came 4 stars
2/28/11 Captain Slog My favourite sci fi movie of all time. Great soundtrack too 5 stars
2/11/11 Ionicera Amazing performance by Sam Rockwell but leaves too many plot strings dangling 4 stars
11/20/10 mr.mike The miniatures looked fake , distracting from a good story. 3 stars
5/12/10 Dave Bowman Rockwell's performance was pure cinematic Gestalt. 4 stars
4/05/10 erik if you fell asleep, you need a brain. 5 stars
3/11/10 daveyt loved the seamless normality, Rockwell's on top form 4 stars
2/18/10 Craig Brilliant. A must see. 5 stars
1/31/10 Langano Best film of 2009. 5 stars
1/15/10 Sevarian Excellent all across the board 5 stars
11/19/09 DsTiOSo Hi! rQheRkx 1 stars
8/13/09 thejames good soundtrack, entertaining, ends too soon. 4 stars
7/13/09 damalc excellent; like "2001" without the pretentiousness 4 stars
7/13/09 Suzz don't miss this film if you like great sci-fi 5 stars
6/26/09 Tim a challenging sci-fi posing so many pertinent questions in such discreet fashion 5 stars
6/22/09 Toni Awesome! So much to like abt the movie - the emoticon on GERTY was genius 5 stars
6/20/09 Ming sorry this film make me falling asleep..not much exciting happening 2 stars
6/17/09 jurisprudence man this sucked 1 stars
6/17/09 george ljjhKW bkwPpwvo03NXzw47jvGa 4 stars
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  12-Jun-2009 (R)
  DVD: 29-Dec-2009


  DVD: 29-Dec-2009

Directed by
  Duncan Jones

Written by
  Nathan Parker

  Sam Rockwell
  Kevin Spacey
  Matt Berry
  Kaya Scodelario
  Benedict Wong
  Malcolm Stewart

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