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Moon (2009)

The last place you'd ever expect to find yourself

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 97 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

Just like District 9 earlier in the year, Moon, which has shamefully garnered a small release thus far despite overwhelming critical praise, goes beyond the label of science fiction and presents a beautifully acted, superbly crafted story that is so much more than an outer space genre flick.

When we first meet Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), he’s two weeks away from finishing his contract with moon miners Lunar Industries and leaving the station on the moon where he’s resided for the last three years. As luck would have it, though, Sam gets himself into a minor accident one day while performing routine mining exploration, and when he awakens back at the base, tended by his constant robot companion GERTY (voice of Kevin Spacey), some very strange things begin to cause him to wonder if he’ll ever see his wife and daughter again—or if he has, perhaps, started to lose his mind.

So, first of all, this is Rockwell’s show all the way, though I gotta say, Spacey may just have been made to play a robot’s voice (he does more off-screen with only a bulky white computer that expresses itself with happy face emoticons and his voice than a lot of actors do with a whole movie full of screen time). Rockwell plays, basically, a man talking to himself attempting to determine his own level of sanity—on top of that, one of the Sams he plays has to be very sick, literally falling apart at the seams. Juries and judging panels love that dual-role stuff, and somebody better hand this man an award once the statue season rolls around. The story itself, though, is the real star, and, as directed by Duncan Jones in his feature film debut, it’s all at once suspenseful, poignant, haunting, funny, and conversation-inducing. The best sci-fi films are those that, like 2001, present universal themes that don’t necessarily have to be set in a space station, and though Moon deals with mining on the moon, cloning, and other decidedly genre topics, the universality of ideas about what it means to be human, the importance we place on perception, and the dangers of technology run rampant give the film its unobtrusive moral compass. At its gooey center, however, the real beauty of Moon lies in Sam’s very personal, very solitary story, as he struggles to understand his existence—a struggle Rockwell plays with brilliant subtlety and Jones directs with a skillful hand that never tells us how to feel, just lets us figure it out right along with Sam.

It's Got: Awesome performances, Kevin Spacey's new calling in life as a computer, A great story

It Needs: A wider release, Maybe to let go of the "radio" at the end


One of the best movies of the year, Moon is so much more than a story about a space station, and with a standout, virtually one-man performance from Sam Rockwell, hopefully those in the know will take interest come awards season.