Duncan Jones’ debut feature film is an homage to so many science fiction greats that have hit our screens and yet it oozes originality and personality. Achieving all that with a budget of $5 million says a lot about Jones’ talent and vision to create an indie science fiction film that doesn’t rely on gimmicks or CGI. Moon takes a step back from diluted drama and presents us with a science fiction film with adult themes and really challenges the viewer to step inside Sam Bell’s (Sam Rockwell) slippers.
Set in the not too distant future Lunar Industries have built Sarang, a mining base on the far side of the moon in order to harvest the moon’s surface for Helium-3, an energy source that has the power to run fusion reactors on Earth. Sarang has a crew of 1. Sam Bell mans the base with the assistance of GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), an artificially intelligent computer. Sam’s three-year contract is drawing to a close and his only contact with Earth has been through recorded messages sent from his wife Tess and their three-year old daughter Eve, and Lunar Industries.
Nearing the end of his contract Sam makes a life changing discovery and our character as we have come to know him transforms in front of our eyes as he battles with the concept of duality and existence. Experiences of loneliness, paranoia, isolation and fear pose ethical challenges that Sam has to face head on.
Accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack that complements our emotional connection with Sam and his desire to return home, Jones presents us with an opportunity to experience Sam’s discovery of identity. The cinematography and technical thought that has gone into the making of this film will truly astound everything you have come to accept about modern film making. Modern day reliance on CGI has taken away the gritty realism that movies used to depend on and this return to elegant simplicity and excellent craftsmanship provides more than just a story about a man on the moon.
For any science-fiction fan this is a Must-see and for those of you willing to give it a shot you won’t be disappointed. This hard-hitting slow burner is an excellent example of independent British film making.
* * * *