Moon (2009) Poster

(2009)

User Reviews

Add a Review
514 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
10/10
Small in scope, Grandiose in concept
Craig McPherson5 July 2009
While book racks are brimming with thought provoking, high concept science fiction, the movie genre tends to be populated by invading aliens, intergalactic wars, and adventure, which makes Director and co-writer Duncan Jones' Moon that much more of an oddity.

Not since Steven Soderbergh's much overlooked 2002 rendition of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris has a movie firmly rooted in the sci-fi realm delivered reflections on the human condition, which Moon does deftly.

It tells the story of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), the only inhabitant of an automated lunar mining base extracting Helium-3 from lunar rocks to be shipped back to Earth to fuel the energy starved planet.

Sam's isolated three year posting is about to come to an end and he longs to return to Earth to see his wife. His only company throughout this sojourn has been that of Gerty, the base's HAL-like robot voiced by Kevin Spacey. Unfortunately, the final weeks and days are proving to be the most difficult, and Sam finds himself going a bit squirrelly, leaving both he and the audience to wonder if what's unfolding is actually happening, or merely a drama taking place in his addled mind.

That's about as much plot detail as I'm going to deliver, for to delve any deeper into the story would give too much away. Be prepared, however, for a thought provoking narrative that touches on issues such as scientific ethics, corporate greed, human identity, and compassion.

There are no aliens, lasers/phasers, wormholes, warp engines or jump drives here, just a lonely space age concierge, an unflappable monotone robot, and a whole lot of fodder for your brain to chow down on.

This is what science fiction was meant to be.
712 out of 780 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Fantastic...
Tasslehoff620 June 2009
In short, this is one of the best sci-fi movies I have seen in a LONG time. Sam Rockwell plays it perfect, making the viewer feel his isolation and lonelieness. For a low budget film, the few effect shots work seamlessly. I'm trying to remain spoiler free, so I won't bother to explain the plot. If you like older and more story/character driven sci-fi, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, than chances are you will love this movie. If you aren't a huge fan of sci-fi, take a chance with this one. You may find it a very rewarding experience. I loved this movie, and I can't stop thinking about it. In Moon, you may begin to think that everything is a big cliché, but than with all of the seemingly cliché plot points, Moon changes them into something entirely original and unexpected. It is an excellent piece of art and I have a strong feeling not enough people will see and appreciate it like I did.
466 out of 539 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
A great Sci-Fi movie
hrstar2416 July 2009
The Moon has always been a source of wonder and mystery. It is so far away, yet much closer than the stars. Man has reached the Moon, but there is still so much that is unknown about it. It is a bridge between mystery and fact, and director Duncan Jones uses it as a brilliant setting for his science fiction film Moon.

The movie stars Sam Rockwell as a lunar astronaut also named Sam stationed alone on the Moon for three years. He isn't entirely alone, because the AI computer GERTY (Kevin Spacey) is constantly following him. Energy companies have discovered vast amounts of Helium on the Moon, and they now mine that Helium in order to power the Earth. As Sam begins his last two weeks stationed in the mining facility, his mind begins to break down and he soon realizes he just might not be able to make it back.

It is quite obvious that the main intention of Moon was to pay respect to the older science fiction movies like Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and it is a great homage to the genre indeed. GERTY is possibly one of my favorite AI computers ever in a movie, because it constantly shows its mood through a series of different smiley faces, and has Kevin Spacey's voice. The overall story of Moon is pretty good, and it definitely tugs a bit on your emotions because the main character Sam is so real and relatable. It is a bit more of an art film, but I have found that the mixture of art and Sci-Fi is a brilliant combination.

The absolute key ingredient to making Moon was finding a capable actor because it is essentially a one man show, and they picked a winner with Sam Rockwell. Rockwell gives one of his best performances to date, and while it might be a little early to predict I can see him getting an Oscar nomination for his role. The other great thing about this picture is the special effects. Since the budget was so low this could have been a disaster, but the shots of the Moon Rovers and Harvesters were astonishingly realistic, and a typical movie goer would think this had at least a 40 million dollar budget. It is amazing how much more was accomplished with this tiny budget compared to the $200 million dollars poured into Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Overall Moon is a complete film. It isn't groundbreaking, but it accomplished everything it set out to be, which are a great homage and a chance for Sam Rockwell to really show his acting prowess. I found myself leaving the theater with a great feeling of satisfaction that I have only received from a couple movies this year so far.

9/10
204 out of 235 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Utterly Fantastic and Inspired
ryanboulding9 April 2009
Go see this movie! I've been lucky enough to have an opportunity to see this movie down here at SXSW and I am the better for it.

You don't really stumble upon many riveting, independent, sci-fi films that look beautiful(let alone don't contain aliens and space magic) and capture major emotional themes successfully. Moon accomplishes this, and with very little CGI at that.

Sam Bell is an astronaut working for a corporation on the far side of the moon. His job? Maintaining a lunar facility and the automated machines which are harvesting the moon's surface for Helium 3. The harvested material is then sent back to Earth to use as energy.

Sam is on the very last leg of a three year contract and is quite anxious to return to his wife and daughter. Barring any incidents, Sam will be able to leave his solitude. But something does go wrong.

That said, tremendous acting by Sam Rockwell carries this film - mainly because he is basically the only person in the movie. I'm not talking about Cast Away meets the moon… This film explores loneliness much deeper than that, and with much more emotion as well. Luckily for us there are no pieces of sports equipment on which the lead dotes, but instead we're blessed with a monotonous talking robot(voiced by Kevin Spacey) reminiscent of Hal from 2001 notoriety.

I advise that people go see this film, not only to support Duncan, the director, and Sam, but also to explore to possibilities of space and the humanity of loneliness.

Don't go in expecting to find what I have discussed, but go in expecting to find something inside yourself.
535 out of 634 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Classic sci-fi driven by a Sam Rockwell tour-de-force
larry-41125 March 2009
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 events unfold. 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.
461 out of 559 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Nothing short of astounding
breaknthrugh24 June 2009
This was the best movie I have seen in a very in a very long time and immediately jumps into my favorite movies ever. MOON puts a relatable human touch on an intriguing and deep sci-fi story that, while it originally appears to be taking the path of 2001 Space Odyssey, is a unique adventure. Sam Rockwell puts on a spellbinding performance and Kevin Spacey's GERTY voice-over is eery and excellent. I have never seen a movie that had me so engrossed and intrigued from beginning to end. Some may say the film starts slowly but I found the first half hour to be an important and gripping portrayal of what it would mean to be alone in space, without which the movie would not be as effective. I don't want to ruin the plot so I wont go into further detail. As an avid movie watcher who is not a sci-fi buff I would recommend this movie to anybody who wants to see a movie that will take over their lives for 2 hours and have you leave the theater wanting to do nothing but discuss how beautifully layered it was.
274 out of 329 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Excellent low-budget sci-fi drama with an amazing cast! ;)
KnatLouie20 April 2009
Okay, here's the basic plot (without the twist-spoiler):

Place: The moon. Time: A future not long from now (2030-ish I think). Sam Bell, astronaut, is working on a lunar base of some sort. He is the only person on the entire base, only assisted by an all-knowing robot called GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey). He has been stationed on the base for almost 3 years, his contract nearing an end, and with his flight back to earth scheduled only 14 days away, he can't wait to get back home to see his wife and daughter again. However, suddenly one of the automated moon-vehicles (harvesting rock-samples or whatever) goes awry, and he goes outside of the base to investigate it... but then something unexpected happens, and he has to change his perspective on everything.

  • End of basic plot summary.


Bell is played by the brilliant Sam Rockwell, whom you probably know from "Charlie's Angels", "The Green Mile", "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind", "Matchstick Men" or the equally brilliant sci-fi movies "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" and "Galaxy Quest". This is probably his biggest part in a movie EVER, and I doubt if he will ever get a role as big as this again (not because he's not capable or worthy of it, but because it was a HUGE performance). If you're a fan of Rockwell (or perhaps of Kevin Spacey's voice), then you will not be disappointed, as they're both great in "Moon".

For sci-fi lovers, this movie is really a blast. It takes some inspiration from such classics like "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Outland", "Silent Running", "Alien", and others, but still manages to be unique and original, something which has become increasingly rare in the recent big-budget/massive special effects/quick fix-tradition of Hollywood nowadays. "Moon" achieved something great for a budget of approximately 5 million dollars, which is ridiculously low by regular movie-standards, where a feature film usually would cost ten times that amount.

As for the theme of the movie, the subjects of alienation, solitude, dehumanization and disbelief are risen (among others), which often leads to some of the best movies (in my opinion), as is the case here too.

All in all, this movie definitely ranks among my personal top-20 all-time sci-fi favorites, and I will presume it will be placed equally high on most sci-fi aficionado's lists. An excellent debut directorial by Duncan Jones, and clearly one of the 5 best sci-fi movies made in the last 10 years. Already looking forward to his next feature film, which allegedly is also going to be a sci-fi movie (although with a much bigger budget).

Final rating: 9.5/10 - a nearly flawless movie.
257 out of 313 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
half way between solaris and space-odyssey
anuragr30 June 2009
I was led to this movie, partly because of a sort of dissatisfaction from what we've known as science fiction due to Star-Treks, Star wars, terminators and transformers. On my visit to the local independent movie theater, I was only expecting something like Apollo 13 and I would've been satisfied with just that.

But the movie proved to be much more. It wasn't just the cinematography, few captivating shots of the moon surface, or the great acting performance. It was as if the movie took a while to ponder over philosophical questions that science and technology raise- something that every science fiction ought to do.

This work won't be unworthy of a comparison with Kubrick's- space odyssey – only that it is probably not as visually stimulating as the latter. It does make good use of classical music like Kubrick's. I found the movie to be a bit more accessible than Tarkovsky's Solaris in that it is much more fluid and entertaining (Solaris was 3 hr long – executed very slow albeit with a similar idea). Like Solaris, the protagonist's recollections of the life on earth eventually result in some mental instability, but the movie stays away from getting into long philosophical debates on human experience or our place on earth.

In general, do expect a lot more than space travel in this movie. To cite an example, the isolation of Sam made him more attached to memories of his life on earth. I don't recall many other movies that have expressed it so well that in isolation, nothing really means anything. Kudos to the director! Such existentialist reflections aside, there are many instances when the movie makes a statement about unethical corporate practices, evasive HR responses - almost to the extent 'Michael Clayton' did. I think that makes it more worthwhile to watch. Still despite all that, it avoids taking any stances on controversies that bother all of us in modern times. It puts us through the fears of the unknown, catastrophes of distrust and what arises from distrust and isolation and all of that.

Still, somehow the movie isn't really as dark as the script might make it sound. There is isolation, mistrust, schemes, confusion, curiosities and despair, but the human experience probably transcends the realism of its existence – that was the idea I carried back from the movie theater.
201 out of 248 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
A worthwhile one-man show
mike-114512 June 2009
Originally posted to titsandgore.com, April 2009:

Moon is an auspicious debut from Duncan Jones (née Zowie Bowie), a talented new director who happens to be the son of David Bowie (let me officially be the first person to predict that every review of this film in the mainstream press will have the tagline "SPACE ODDITY!"). Sam Rockwell gives a truly remarkable performance as Sam Bell, a lunar miner who is nearing the end of his 3-year contract at a single-man mining outpost. His only companion is the station computer, Gertie, a straight-up HAL homage that tantalizingly suggests how a culture informed by decades of watching 2001 might choose to design a companion robot.

To say too much more about the plot would be to spoil its central conceit, and while I'm sure many reviewers will talk openly about it, I want to preserve the surprise if at all possible at least until the film gets its theatrical release this coming June.

Suffice it to say that Jones admirably mixes together stock genre tropes, paying tribute to a number of classic science fiction features while retaining his own idiosyncratically dark vision. Familiar filmic concepts of the "clean future" and the "dirty future" are mixed together to create a unique atmosphere; the milieu is suitably claustrophobic, the cramped quarters of the mining station serving the film's conceptual purposes while masking the shoestring budget. In fact, it may be hard to spare a glance at the meticulously designed sets with your eyes glued to Rockwell for the duration of the picture. His performance is utterly mesmerizing, inhabiting the role so completely that it is impossible to imagine any other actor having the chutzpah to pull it off.

Which is not to say that Moon is without its problems; the pacing is hardly consistent and Jones' reliance on Rockwell tends to undersell his direction. Parts of the film veer dangerously close to identical thematic elements in Steven Soderbergh's recent adaptation of Solaris, without being as emotionally potent. But what it lacks in originality is mostly compensated for by the sheer audacity of its central performance and the careful economy of its direction.

Moon may be dressed in familiar clothing, but it is a singular experience, a clever, darkly funny and genuinely moving journey into the nature of individuality. Jones is already at work on a second science fiction feature, and it is welcome indeed to see such a promising new talent continue to develop his voice by working in genre film-making!
181 out of 233 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
A sci-fi film where it's the acting that counts
Chris Knipp22 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by David Bowie's 38-year-old son (formerly known as Zowie), with a screenplay by Nathan Parker, 'Moon' is a curious and thought-provoking sci-fi story about a man working for an energy company, mining Helium-3 on the far side of the moon, who discovers, just as his three-year contract is ending, that he may not be going home. Sam Rockwell gets to do a virtuoso turn as alternative versions of himself (his character's name is Sam too, Sam Bell). Events are set in a traditional space station with a capacious, softly lit layout featuring the obligatory human-voiced and omnipresent computer -- mobile, not so big, a sort of clunky R2D2 -- creepily accommodating and voiced by an almost-human Kevin Spacey. It's a robot, I guess, and its name is GERTY. There are nice lunar landscapes outside where Sam sometimes rides around in a puffed-up Hummer-style Land Rover to explore or look over the machinery extracting Helium-3. Instead of the now all-too-usual and increasingly irrelevant CGI, there's more the feel of a giant mock-up in everything we see, which provides a better kind of background for what is essentially a Kafkaesque head trip. The interior isn't all modernistic chill. There's also a funky armchair reminiscent of the final sequence of '2001,' and cozy junk, even a college pennant, on the wall around Sam's bunk, sort of like a frat boy's quarters. Sam Rockwell's own appearance, his skin far from perfect and his expression a bit wacko, suggests an ordinary guy, just a worker, which is what he is, not some Astronaut.

'Moon' explores the paranoia we feel about a possible future increasingly dominated by evil, pervasive corporations -- not Big Brother, but Big Corp. It also gets at something hauntingly explored in the movie Jones's dad Bowie played an alien in in way back when, Nicholas Roeg's 'The Man Who Fell to Earth': the terrible loneliness of being out in space away from one's own kind. Sam works on the moon all by himself, and some kind of radio blockage keeps him from being in direct electronic contact with people, including his wife. There's also another aspect of space travel where distances destroy human chronology: a distorted and confused sense of time troubles Sam when he tries to figure out what's been going on with his little family back on earth. It seems like it all happened a longer time ago than he knew. Or did it maybe happen to somebody else? Such questions may arise from time to time in other space movies, but the filmmakers are usually too preoccupied with stuff like conflicts among the crew, threats from hostile invaders, or technical meltdowns to go into the full awful anomie, mega-aloneness and paranoid delusion lengthy sojourns in space are likely to induce. 'Moon,' however, has no other crew members or invaders or technical problems. Everything seems to be operating according to plan; only it's beginning to seem Sam didn't know what the whole plan was, insofar as his future is concerned. When he's out checking on something not far from the module, the vehicle gets into some kind of accident, and when he wakes up, things start to go strangely wrong. This is where the full-on head trip begins, and we, and Sam, start trying to figure out what's going on. That's all I can tell you, because it's essential that the mystery unfold on its own.

'Moon' doesn't dazzle but gives pleasure in its low-keyed conviction. It even made me think of Shane Carruth's 2004 virtually no-budget cult time-travel movie, 'Primer,' because even with relatively elaborate sets and effects, it still focuses on ideas, rather than razzle-dazzle -- on what Sam is going through, rather than what the filmmakers were up to.

Hence the key work is done by Rockwell. Sam Bell is exhausted and lonely after three years alone on the moon with only GERTY for company, and Rockwell must go through a series of reawakenings and breakdowns after he hallucinates and has that accident in the vehicle and then becomes increasingly confused, angry, and frantic about what's going on. I'm not sure Jones or Parker make the most of the situation they set up, but Rockwell's quick reactions and mood shifts hold our attention very well. As we know from 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,' 'Joshua,' and 'Snow Angels,' Rockwell does great mental breakdowns. This time he does rapid physical deterioration equally well. In a sense, all the most important special effects come out of the actor's bag of tricks. But that's not to forget the satisfying simplicity of the lunar landscape design sculpted by cinematographer Gary Shaw and production designer Tony Noble, or to overlook Clint Mansell's evocative musical soundscape. And when Sam confronts other versions of himself, needless to say the CGI folks were needed to pull it off within single frames.

Low keyed and a little slow, 'Moon' isn't for everyone and may seem tailored primarily for sci-fi buffs. But its disturbing exploration of identity goes back to a child's fundamental philosophical speculations: Why am I here? Who am I? How do I know I'm me?
28 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Great Movie If You Want It To Be
Warning: Spoilers
Moon is a philosophical film at heart, examining a variety of complex subjects and dilemmas with a precise and perfect manner, mirroring the voice of its robot servant Gerty and the emptiness of the base itself. This is both the source of its beauty and a few problems.

(Spoiler Alert) Although the beginning of the film gives us the usual stark view of the "astronaut alone," common in all well-done space movies and in this case especially derivative of the original Solaris, it is in Sam's discovery that the film really takes flight and becomes something exciting and new. Sam Rockwell gives a stunning performance, playing multiple versions of Sam Bell with great care and delicacy, making each clone new and yet the same; totally different from the often unintentionally comedic performances a role like that can manifest.

But the subtlety of Rockwell's performance, when combined with the starkness and quiet of the base, can make the film feel mechanical to the unprepared viewer. Rockwell doesn't force his audience to feel for him. It's something that occurs only when you take time out from the screen to examine just how lonely, terrifying, and unfair Sam's experience is. You have to explore Sam's plight on your own. It is up to you to unravel the multitude of layers and depths swimming beneath the surface of this intricate story or take them at face value, an aspect of the film that can potentially leave many viewers understandably unsatisfied and unmoved.

One of the emotional surprises in the film does come from Sam's interaction with Gerty the robot, his only companion. Gerty is the best on screen portrayal of a robot "friend" to date. He takes great care of Sam, not because he feels for Sam, but because that is logically the best thing for him to do, and yet he does his job well. He is neither sinister or abnormally compliant, his emoticon "face" lending the film an at times eerie and other times emotive component that feels more realistic and effective then his counterparts like HAL or Robbie the Robot.

I loved the film, was compelled as I watched it, and unable to easily leave it behind once I left the theater. But I also didn't leave with a strong emotional response, despite my understanding of the broad horrors of that Sam was facing. I'm not sure if that's a bad thing or not; maybe it depends on which version of me was watching.
14 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Dad, there's someone asking about Mom … Moon
jaredmobarak11 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Moon is ostensibly a one-man show featuring Sam Rockwell as an astronaut sent to the moon on a three-year contract to maintain a mining station that harvests the sun's fusion energy from moonrocks. We are thrown into the mix with only two weeks left in his tenure, the desire to return to his wife and daughter, whom he has never seen in real life yet, strong and his psyche all but ready to break from the lack of human interaction. Sam Bell has been keeping busy by utilizing a treadmill, watching old Nick at Nite type sitcoms, whittling away at a wooden model of his hometown with an X-acto knife, and conversing with the station's artificial intelligence GERTY. The live feed to Earth has been disengaged for a while now, leaving this monotonous voice and bright yellow smiley face—complete with changing expressions—of Kevin Spacey his only friend. Sure he gets to record video packages for his wife and bosses at Lunar Industries, and they reply back to him, but the distance needed to travel is great and the time between too long.

Cabin fever has definitely set in as Sam begins to zone out and manifest a woman, first sitting down in his chair and then out on the moon's surface while he is out for a routine check. Both instances cause him to forget what he was doing, causing great personal harm and injury. When the real trouble occurs, however, is the moment—as seen in the trailer—he brings back a body from the surface that appears, for all intents and purposes, to be him. This is the point where talking about Moon gets a little difficult so as to not ruin the mystery that should be unsolved when you sit down to watch the film. The trailer portrays a story that seems to beg the question of whether the second Sam is truly there or only in his imagination as he slowly goes insane. I won't divulge the answer, but instead say that it gets solved fairly quickly. So, instead of the film becoming a psychological thriller with a big reveal at its conclusion, Duncan Jones' story becomes complete science fiction, bringing in moral questions about technological advances we in 2009 are just beginning to wrestle with.

This aspect, while at first threatening to ruin my experience as I entered thinking the question of whether Sam number two was real or not would be the backbone to the tale, became so important to my enjoyment. Rather than a look inside the psyche of this man, isolated for so long, we are given a tense race against time as Sam must discover what is happening and think of a way to get out from under it all before the ELIZA rescue team arrives from Earth, an event that could have very dire consequences. I don't want to ruin too much, but let me just say that the clock is counting down to his death, an ending that could be caused by many different factors, (failing health, execution by those coming, etc.), that also begs the question of whether he is in fact alive in the first place. I have to say that Jones and screenwriter Nathan Parker put together a taut thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The pacing is deliberate and rapid all at the same time, the art direction pristine, and the camera tricks very impressive.

Sam Rockwell is a major part of this as it is definitely the best work of his career. Not only is he on screen for the entire run time, about 80% of it is playing opposite a computer or himself. The pressures being put upon his shoulders, the fear of what may be happening, about his very own existence, weigh down his emotional strength and it shows. The outbursts, the sarcasm, the joking around to anger his doppelganger, and the heartbreaking realization of what is going on show through with perfection. This is his shining moment, proving his craft and ability to act above and beyond the "funny guy" he is often relegated to play. Especially when pitted against such a stark background of clinical white futuristic rooms or the vacuum of space, the angst, joy, disbelief, and fortitude of his humanity are all that we are able to see, his performance is paramount to the film's success.

I know that, as far as storyline goes, this review remains somewhat vague besides expressing the visceral tension and underlying mystery waiting to be solved, but I believe that is for your own viewing pleasure. While the trailer is not necessarily misleading, it posits a question that is answered early on as being the main crux of the entire film. That possibility of more than one Sam Bell or of a man who's hold of reality has been broken may be what you went into the film expecting to see. Well you will just see it sooner than expected and as a lead into the real story of survival, identity, and the idea of home. In that respect, having the trailer's mystery solved only means more time for unexpected story lines; it may have gotten you into the seats, but it is only the beginning of what this science fiction classic-in-waiting has to offer.
35 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Fabulous film
Paynebyname31 July 2009
I saw this last night and it was fabulous. It's hard to discuss for fear of giving away any spoilers but I'll try.

I thought it a magnificent film and when compared to the bloated, nonsensical 'lets have more pointless explosions' of Transformers 2 it shows that you can still have such thought, style and cleverness in a film for a fraction of the budget.

Normally with the independent art-house films they are set on Glaswegian council estates. If remotely sci-fi they are almost forced to have a horror - sex element to help them sell to the teen market.

This was so refreshing for demonstrating genuine craft and story telling. A film that even as your mind is racing ahead to predict the typical ABC outcome of film, manages to keep surprising you.

There were no silly twists or WTF moments to make up for the writers lack of logic and it offered a subject matter that resonated with you long after.

Sam's performance was stellar but it is frustrating that one can't elaborate for fear of giving stuff away. I know the film didn't have a big cinema push, well certainly not in the UK, and was only out to piggy back the anniversary of the lunar landings, but I really hope it gets some more exposure.

Sam deserves recognition for his talent as does the writer and director. I've enjoyed some good films this year but that was certainly the freshest, most inventive and well executed one that I've seen so far.
15 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Very Good Sci-fi
freemantle_uk4 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The future can be bright and the future can be bleak. It's an area that has always offered writers and filmmakers have often looked at and brought us some real classics. Here is Duncan Jones' homage to the great era of Sci-fi from of the 60s to the 80s.

In Duncan Jones' vision of the future the world's energy needs are solved by mining the moon for helium-3 which can be used for nuclear fusion. Living on the dark side of the moon is Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), who is coming to the end of a 3 year contract. He has lived in isolation, with only GERTY (Kevin Spacey), a robot who is programmed to serve him. His only contact from the outside world is video messages from his wife (Dominique McElligott) and the company. When one of the mining machines suffers some damage Sam goes out to fix it. However, after seeing images he crashes and wakes up after in the infirmary. GERTY tells Sam he is under orders no to let out the base and he has to trick the robot before being allowed out. In the open spaces of the moon Sam finds another version of himself. Both falls quickly into conflict, both arguing they are the real Sam and the other is a clone. But both also know something wider and darker is happening and they need to solve it before a rescue team arrive.

Duncan Jones offers a strong and ambitious debut as a feature director. Sci-fi is not a genre that indie directors attempt and Jones does a wonderful job with a $5 Million budget. He shows that Sci-fi can be meaningful and doesn't resource to action and explosions to keep the audience's interest. It is thoughtful with themes of identity, isolation and the future of mankind. Jones keeps the mystery going and makes the audience exercise their mind whilst watching.

Sam Rockwell has a tough job acting by himself, but he is a talented actor and does a excellently. He is allowed to show his range and can show a lot in his facial expressions. Kevin Spacey who is just a voice in this film offers a good impression of HAL 9000.

Clint Mansell who composed an fantastic score for Requiem for a Dream has shown his musical talent again which a subtle, haunting score.

Jones is an old fashion director, using models rather then CGI. It is refreshing to see in a modern film, is a lot more effective then CGI would have been on such a low budget. It reminds of films such as the original Star War films.

Moon pays homage and has similarities to classic Sci-fi such as Alien, Blade Runner, Sunshine, 2001: A Space Odyssey (a must see) and 2010: the Year We Made Contact (a boring dud).

Duncan Jones has a fine future ahead of him.
45 out of 67 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Amazing Throwback Sci-Fi
drunkenhopfrog24 July 2009
There is little that I can do by way of review. There is a minor REVEAL a third of the way through that, though it would not ruin the movie, would ruin some of the cumulative effect of the subtly clever tale.

Sam Rockwell plays Sam (for some reason I love it when that happens) who is a one man show on a moon mining base for a Big Energy Company. He signed a three year contract and he is two weeks away from going home to his wife and small child.

Kevin Spacey's voice gives life to GERTY, the helpful corporate robot. GERTY expresses himself with emoticons which are chuckle inducing.

The brilliance is that writer/director Duncan Jones (son of rock idol Davey Jones. No, not that Davey Jones, but rather the one that took the stage name of David Bowie {which makes Jones' movie taking place in space... OK, nevermin}) lays delicate red herrings at various points where the viewer is suddenly convinced that it is going to be THAT type of movi... er, no, I mean OK, we saw that in 2001 it... er, no, that's like Solar... hmm.

As I mentioned, The Reveal comes pretty early, but this is not a M. Knight movie, so The Reveal is not what drives the film. After The Reveal the movies turns into a quiet and contemplative commentary, maybe, or perhaps an extensional wrapped philosophical study. I'm not sure, actually, which is why the movie stays with you. It allows one to read quite a bit between gratuitously wide-spaced lines, take it at face value, or approach it in the abstract. It is more ambiguous in its purpose than something like 2001 which was purposely extensional and ambiguous, if that makes any sense.

I must also add that the movie made me very, very sad. It's hard to explain why for the movie did not have a classic "sad ending," but the effect that it had on me bordered on profound. This is by far my favorite movie in a long while.

And lastly, Sam Rockwell was absolutely amazing.

The fact that my anticipation was so high for the film and still did not disappoint probably means it is even better than I am claiming. Do yourself a favor though: If it plays near you, go see it.

10/10 *****/***** Three Thumbs Up and a Bucket of Popcorn
16 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Its like it knows what your thinking, but doesn't want to correct you right away
blackmambamark3 August 2009
The Sci-Fi department is a very hard market to break. Hence why greatness always seems to come from that genre......because normally when they are made, it usually takes millions of dollars to cover the special effects and what not......so the process of choosing the right script is somewhat limited, but they always leave their mark. However, this one is changing that pace.....in a rhealm of big budget Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica flicks, this movie chooses to take the independent route. By only spending 3 million for its budget, and using old school techniques for its special effects.....can a movie like this thrive in todays market? Well you know how i mentioned that the script selection for a Sci-Fi movie isa very tough market to break......and how the script better be incredible if it is going to make it anywhere........well this movie is just that. This movie was just plain brilliant. For those of you who have no idea what this film is about, allow me to shed some light on the subject.........In the future, our main character Sam Rockwell is living on a one man space station on the moon, whose should purpose it to retrieve and send precious resources from the moon back to the earth.....in this process he becomes very lonely and begins to uncover a horrible truth. The movie is directed and told in such a brilliant fashion......they never try to WOW you with its special effects, which are very moderate but pass with flying colors. Its script and method of storytelling are probably the best part. Instead of answering all of your questions all at once, they sort of draw them out and make you claw and scratch for the truth......but the thing that i like the most is how they approach everything.........they take a route that lets you know that you have seen all the other Sci-Fi classics, and addresses all of your concerns of what may happen or what is going to......and then just carries on like its hidding this secret from you.....almost like the movie knows what your thinking, but chooses not to correct you right away.......brilliantly told and shown in an even better light......and with Clint Mansell directing the musical score(Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain)......my god, how could you not be pulled in. Now the part that i am excited to talk about the most is the acting......because i really have not had anything to rave about so far this year.......but Sam Rockwell is hands down the best actor so far this year. He has already proved himself to me with "The Green Mile", "Frost/Nixon", and "Choke"......but he knocked this one out of the park. It was a difficult script to pull off for an actor, and he did it with leaps and bounds.......job well done. I will be very upset if he is not at least nominated this year. Bottom Line.......well, "Star Trek" gave you the action/entertainment portion of your Sci-Fi.......whereas this one gives you its underbelly. This is easily one of the best Sci-Fi movies i have seen in a long time, and that is saying a lot coming from me. There was not one thing wrong with this movie......maybe the end was a little sketchy, but it was still not enough to destroy this brilliant film. I urge all of you to go to your local independent movie theatre and watch this movie........you will regret it if you don't.......easily one of the 10 best movies i have seen this year.
137 out of 229 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Moon - A must see film for 2009!
jamesrobertfreeman20 July 2009
I have just seen Moon at my local independent cinema after it was mentioned that it won Best New British Feature at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. To be honest I did not read much into the film before I went but must admit I was totally blown away. This is a LOW budget film, I think about £5 million and it is amazing the overall results achieved from such a low budget.

I wont reveal much about the story but it is about the life of a loner Astronaut Saml Bell who is towards the end of this three year stint on the Moon. The story is intriguing and grabs your interest from the onset. Sam Rockwell plays an incredible role as Sam Bell within the film and Kevin Spacey as the computer GERTY is perfect.

If you have any doubts about seeing this film. Don't. Just watch it and enjoy - this is not a dumbed down hi-budget Scifi Film. It is an enjoyable film which punches many surprises and I can now see why this has been receiving very good reviews. GO SEE.
13 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Brilliantly executed, fascinating, and involving
Howard Schumann12 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The most important issue we may face in the future is whether rapid advances in science and technology will change human beings into disposable resources, utilitarian subjects manipulated by indifferent centers of corporate power. Moon, the thought provoking and thoroughly engrossing first feature from U.K. director Duncan Jones, son of the pop singer David Bowie, tackles these questions and raises others that have been pondered since man first set foot on this planet – Who are we? Where did we come from? What is our purpose on this planet? Though the answers do not come as easily as the questions, Moon attempts to recapture the science fiction genre from the mindless action-adventure films we have become accustomed to and brings it to a level, perhaps not seen since the classic Kubrick film 2001.

Filmed on soundstages in England and set in an unspecified future time, Moon opens with a mock commercial by the Japanese corporation Lunar Industries. The Corporation has developed a technique to use the rocks on the moon to produce Helium-3, a substance that can fulfill mankind's most pressing energy needs. Their mining facility on the far side of the moon is manned only by Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) and a Hal-like robot named Gerty (voice of Kevin Spacey) who communications emotions through a smiley face display while reflecting company programming. Lonely and emotionally at loose ends, Sam is nearing the end of a three-year stint and is looking forward to return home in two weeks to see his wife (Dominique McElligott) and young daughter with whom he is only able to communicate via video recording since direct communication is temporarily out of service.

When hallucinations of his lovely wife standing before him cause Sam to crash his Lunar Rover, the film takes a strange turn and never looks back. Sam wakes up in the infirmary and begins his recovery process under strict orders from Gerty not to go outside of the base. Astoundingly, Sam sees a younger version of himself who claims to have arrived to serve the same three-year contract that Sam began many years ago. Raising issues about the nature of identity and the perversion of human life by scientific and corporate power run amok, the film becomes a desperate struggle against the clock to reclaim one's humanity before a so-called rescue operation arrives to set things in order.

Moon is not preachy nor does it treat the corporation as the villain incarnate. Without special effects or bombastic battle scenes, this low-budget film simply presents the possibility of what could happen if human consciousness does not keep pace with advances in genetic engineering. As such, it is brilliantly executed, fascinating and involving, and contains an outstanding double role performance by Indie star Sam Rockwell who is completely convincing as the confused and lonely astronaut who plays ping pong with himself. Director Duncan Jones and screenwriter Nathan Parker have combined the intelligence of Solaris with the chilling power of Alien to produce a work that challenges us to reconnect with our souls.
21 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Great Hidden Gem!
Masked Superstar Mr. X24 November 2009
Wow! This movie blew me away! I really didn't expect it to be as good as it was. I really enjoyed following the story and seeing how it all played out. I wish it was even longer or they made a part 2! It had a slight Blade Runner or Alien feel to it which the director, Duncan Jones, states. I heard MUTE will have more of this feeling so I'm really looking forward to that film. Now some people state that it was too slow paced. Maybe it's just me, but I found that enjoyable, and helped for the unexpected mysteries which lied within. Sam Rockwell played Sam Bell perfectly too. He deserves a lot of credit for nailing that character. It's like you're just following him on his journey trying to figure out and put the pieces together on what is really going on in his world. And, what a unique and fascinating world it is! I also enjoyed Kevin Spacey as the voice of "Gerty". What else can I say without giving it away except watch it! Hopefully you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was!
14 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Worthy but ultimately unsatisfying
accountcrapper2 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting and worthy film but ultimately unsatisfying. I love sci-fi films especially budget indies and I would like to rate the film higher but unfortunately it wasn't for me.

As a reasonably obsessed sci-fi fan I found the film to be a little pedestrian. I have seen many of the set-ups and pay-offs before. For example as a set-up for the fact that Sam Bell is a clones, the newly cloned Sam asks for sunglasses. This is a common clone set-up. New clones wear sunglasses due to the sensitivity of the eyes being used for the first time. As a set-up I found it a little common. There are other examples of recognizable set-ups running throughout the film. I was hoping for bit more ingenuity in the story and better pay- offs.

Most applauded the reasonableness of the science fiction. Cloning and AI on the dark side of the moon is clearly more reasonable than Dunes Guild navigators that fold space-time by consuming vast amounts of a drug called Spice that gives them prescience to see across galaxies and into the future. I have no problem with science and magic. They are not mutually exclusive. As Arthur C.Clarke says "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

When I saw the trailer I was hoping for a Philip K.Dick style existential meltdown. Reality collapsing under the weight of it's pretension. Multiple realities layered on top of each other viciously competing for validation as they unfold into a desolate future. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. Moon is not that kind of thing.

I don't want to bemoan the film to much. It was excellently acted. The production is very strong. The best use of doppelganger actors I ever seen with the exception of Dead Ringers. The CGI was very strong and painted a vivid picture of the moon. The robot AI voiced by Kevin Spacey is very well portrayed.

For all it's supposed Hard Sci-Fi I still feel it wasn't really hard sci-fi. Why didn't the AI have a face. It was a very sophisticated AI with great reasoning skills and somewhat of a personality of it's own. If the engineers can do this and synthesize flawless human speech why could they not give it a face instead of about 6 or 7 emoticons.

The cloning seemed fishy as well. I can't understand they would not just clone a more drone like character that was happy to serve the company. Why and how would they even attempt to embed the memories, personalities and traits of another human into a clone I don't know.

Good film left me cold. People say it was an adult film. I disagree it was a film for stunted adults lacking imagination and a basic sense of cosmic wonder. Watch Herzogs The Wild Blue Yonder a film for real adults.

Didn't want to be that negative. My opinion is more a counter balance to the positive reviews. I can understand the positive reviews. For the audience that gave it 10 stars you do not see a film like this too often. A real science fiction story. I just hate reality I prefer to follow the Sun-Ra myth :)
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Existential dirty dishes on the Moon
timbermisc26 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I liked it. The piano music played throughout kept the tone of the movie from becoming too sterile, lonely. This movie displays some dull life on the moon. The piano music will pull your heart strings alittle, keeping you in there. The moon scenes are very realistic looking.

Although I was dead tired and sleepy, I didn't go to sleep during the movie! Now that is saying something for me!

I feel that this is a classic movie. It attempts to touch man's identity, how we determine our worth. Are we what we do? Are we what we join? Are we our family? Are we illegal immigrants if we work on the Moon and then return to Earth? I didn't expect a science related movie to touch on existential subject matter.

This movie will make you think about your family. It will make you think about how you put together your identity. No, it isn't merely a movie with crash bang action and explosions on the Moon. This isn't an action movie. It's a movie for thinkers..

This movie is edited tightly. There is only one scene where there is some happiness. I suppose you could compare it to a movie about a lonely soldier in WWII who only has a few days to go before the end of his war time assignment. But because it is sci fi, and realistic, you have more to consider: The subject of human cloning comes up. The issue of "where is home"? ...is another matter to contend with. And even more, you must think about a business establishment's loyalty to its workers as an issue.

I haven't given you the answers here so that you will see the movie.

I consider this a true classic, one which may well be used as an example in film classes.
37 out of 64 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Dull, lame, predictable...
evycomelately9 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Sam Bell is stationed on the moon as the sole operator of a vast mining expedition. After a 3 year period of working, Sam starts to suffer from delusions and general physical impediment. He crashes his mining cart rendering him unconscious. When he regains consciousness and finds his way back to the base, another Sam bell seems to have taken his place.

The movie is reasonably well produced but didn't offer an iota of original or interesting writing. The idea that somewhere along the way a person finds out that he's a clone, a hologram or a machine is so incredibly mundane in the realm of SF, that you cannot base an entire movie on just that. In fact, we need an abundance of additional story line to steer our thoughts clear from the unavoidable silliness this kind of space based story will ultimately confront the viewer with. Silliness that could have been avoided in this case, had it been playing out on for example Antarctica. The fact that it takes place on the Moon adds absolutely nothing to the story.

Imagine the film The Matrix plodding on for 80 minutes with Neo having endless discussions with himself behind his PC and then, 20 minutes before the end, have the film reveal that he's actually in the Matrix, having him eat the pill, do a quick voice-over and end the movie right there. That's what the makers of Moon would have done with it.

2/10
57 out of 104 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Good idea, had potential, but is too dry and barren to enjoy
Samiam329 November 2010
I see an idea in Moon, but I don't see a motion picture. This character driven sci-fi/drama which explores being human feels too cold, bland and overlong to work. It takes a while to make its point, and relies on our identification with a character who is portrayed with confused acting. The last time Sam Rockwell was in space was in Galaxy Quest. There he was a scream, here he is a yawn. Moon (I suppose) works in small chunks but the big picture feels dull and not very enriching.

Sam Bell, for three years, has been running an energy station on the moon. The energy harvested there supplies an environmentally friendly Earth in the near future. Sam's only companion is the station's computer, Gerty (a more mobile version of HAL 9000, with a smiley face). One day/night, Sam is investigating a wrecked harvesting machine, and inside he discovers a body.... another Sam. What does this mean? Is Sam #1 going crazy from being on the moon for too long? Is Sam #2 a clone? Is Sam #1 a clone? Are there any more bodies out there? and whose side is Gerty gonna take?

Moon probably sounded good as a pitch, considering all the questions that come up once you block out the plot. Unfortunately the movie never really comes alive. The ending is the most exiting part, but ten minutes of solidity doesn't necessary warrant a time investment in eighty minutes of ponderous direction. Moon is tricky to recommend.
23 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Over the moon with moon!!!
way2grimee3 August 2009
Well dudes, I saw Moon and I am 'over the moon' with the results! What a fantastic movie! Sam Rockwell's performance is simply amazing, serious. Oscar worthy stuff. Also, considering it is a directorial debut, Duncan Jones (Think that's right) has done an absolutely tremendous job. The cinematography is second to none and the overall feel/atmosphere is the very gritty sort of space/spaceships we so loved to see back in the 80's in flicks such as Alien. This film doesn't lack anywhere except for perhaps the running time. I really would have enjoyed sitting there for a further 30 minutes or so. Heres hoping for a Directors Cut with extra footage! Well done Sam Rockwell and well done Duncan Jones! Bravo.
12 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews