Moon (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 97 minutes
Director: Duncan Jones
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Good sci-fi movies are really hard to come by these days. I can count the number of good sci-fi movies in the past decade on one hand. Two years ago, Sunshine (by my boy, Danny Boyle) was a breath of fresh air. Not necessarily because of its originality or premise, but because it was a good movie set in a science fiction setting. Some may argue about the last 30 minutes, but that doesn't take away the beauty of seeing that spaceship cruise towards its ultimate destiny: the sun.
So here comes Moon, a movie co-written and directed by David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones. It borrows heavily from such classics as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris (the 1972 version), but don't let that fool you: this is a smart, well-written suspense movie. Sam Rockwell (who continues to impress me in every movie) plays Sam Bell, a man working for Lunar Industries, a corporation dedicated to supplying earth's energy via harvesting helium-3 from the moon. He's the only one on the station and he's (supposedly) in full control. He's about to end his 3-year stint and head home, but things get a little strange when he has an accident in his moon rover outside the station and passes out from the collision.
Sam Rockwell's performance is outstanding, some of the best work done by an actor this year. He eventually meets a clone of himself during his last days, but you really don't know if he's going crazy or not - mainly because of his performance. The movie does capture that secluded lonely vibe of the moon and being isolated from everyone else.
There are a lot of surprises in this movie, subtle ones, but surprises nonetheless. I really enjoyed Kevin Spacey's voice-over work with GERTY, a more affectionate version of HAL from 2001. Even though Jones may borrow a lot of elements from past science fiction movies, he never allows the science aspect to take over the message of the film. I don't want to give too much away, but "technology is evil" is not the message here.
I don't think you have to enjoy science fiction movies to enjoy Moon. It's a good story and well-acted. I really loved this movie, it's by far one of my favorites this year. If there's a theater near you playing it, go check it out!
Rating: Buy It!