Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
In an overpopulated futuristic Earth, a New York police detective finds himself marked for murder by government agents when he gets too close to a bizarre state secret involving the origins of a revolutionary and needed new foodstuff.
Edward G. Robinson,
Sam Bell has a three year contract to work for Lunar Industries. For the contract's entire duration, he is the sole employee based at their lunar station. His primary job responsibility is to harvest and periodically rocket back to Earth supplies of helium-3, the current clean and abundant fuel used on Earth. There is no direct communication link available between the lunar station and Earth, so his only direct real-time interaction is with GERTY, the intelligent computer whose function is to attend to his day to day needs. With such little human contact and all of it indirect, he feels that three years is far too long to be so isolated; he knows he is beginning to hallucinate as the end of his three years approaches. All he wants is to return to Earth to be with his wife Tess and their infant daughter Eve, who was born just prior to his leaving for this job. With two weeks to go, he gets into an accident at one of the mechanical harvesters and is rendered unconscious. Injured, he ... Written by
Classic sci-fi driven by a Sam Rockwell tour-de-force
I attended a screening of "Moon" at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival in the
legendary Paramount Theatre. There wasn't an empty seat in the
1300-capacity palace. Directed by Duncan Jones, "Moon" stars Sam
Rockwell, one of our generation's most powerful actors.
The notion of a film being unique seems unlikely in 2009. Not here.
While "Moon" is a modern-day science fiction film set in the future, it
pays homage to recent classics like "Blade Runner" and "Alien." Viewers
will be dazzled -- fans of the genre will nod in approval.
Science has developed a way to mine the rocks of the moon for clean
energy here on earth. Private enterprise, in the form of a corporation, sends astronauts on a three-year work stint to carry out
this ongoing mission. Sam Bell (Rockwell) is the latest to undertake
this task, with the trusted robot GERTY by his side watching over the
base's operations -- think HAL with a heart. Of course, things are not
what they seem, and the viewer is mesmerized as puzzling and surprising
Cinematographer Gary Shaw contributes to the impression of the eerie
stillness of life on the moon with the copious use of still camera and
slow tracking shots, only using hand-held when necessary. Nicolas
Gaster's editing is sure and steady, emphasizing the slow pace of Sam
Bell's multi-year work assignment. Remember those pre-CGI days when
special effects meant miniature land rovers on a bumpy table? It can
still be done -- and be believable. "Moon" is evocative of the sci-fi
greats whose visuals were done in-camera, i.e., on set as opposed to
being created by computers in post-production. Sam Bell's unearthly
home is comfortable yet aging like the patina of an old cottage.
Nathan Parker's screenplay (Jones wrote the story but handed over
screen writing duties to Parker) makes the most of Sam Rockwell's
considerable talents. This was quite a physically demanding role, as
well, and rarely has the actor been better (watch "Snow Angels,"
though). He doesn't just carry the film -- "Moon" is almost a one-man
show and Rockwell conducts a master class.
"Moon" is a classic, down and dirty (literally) science fiction film
with a baffling mystery that challenges the viewer to live in the shoes
of the protagonist. It's hard to imagine a better one than Sam Rockwell
or a more effective, entertaining, and satisfying cinematic experience.
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