Monday, January 25, 2010
So my appreciation of this movie is really two-fold. I appreciate the fact that Duncan Jones and screenwriter Nathan Parker pulled off a minimalist sci-fi movie that is super engrossing and simple... and I also appreciate the fact that Duncan Jones shed his ties as the son of David Bowie (Zowie) to bring us a low key release in Moon.
Sam Rockwell is astronaut Sam Bell, a contractor for energy mega-corporation Lunar Industries who is finishing up his 3 year program as the only human supervising the robotic collection of helium-3 on the Moon's surface. Since the live satellite link has been broken, Sam's mental health starts to come into question in the last few weeks of his occupancy on the lunar station Sarang. A hallucination and accident during a helium-3 retrieval catapults Sam into a series of strange events that changes life as he knows it, and everything he has come to work for.
No 'on-the-nose', space-themed Bowie songs - no extensive special effect scenes or ridiculous CG aliens... Moon works because of its quiet atmosphere and basic story. Not that there isn't a place for the normal big budget sci-fi flick, it's just that much more impressive when a new screenwriter and director can pull off something atypical. Rockwell is excellent in the near one-man-show, and off-beat moments of humor and tragedy mark this as one of the better screenplays in the last few years. I think screenwriter Nathan Parker really steals the show in this one, and credit goes to Jones for highlighting the better aspects of Parker's talents in his first film, and vice-versa.
I think it's a shame that Moon barely made back its budget in worldwide sales thus far, but I think with the release of the DVD and with word of mouth it can truly be appreciated for the work it is. At the very least one of the more interesting projects in recent memory.