VOD film review: Moon
James R | On 20, Jul 2017
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Watch Moon online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
A couple of light years from Star Trek and Star Wars sits a small indie sci-fi. Directed by Duncan Jones (the son of David Bowie, who went on to direct the fantastic Source Code), Moon is a low-budget thriller eons from Transformers and its ilk; not only does it have a brain, it’s also exciting. Not in a crash-bang way, but in the way that involves ideas – a dystopian discussion on the nature of humanity. The kind of thing they did back in the 1970s. Far out.
Sam Bell (Rockwell) has been working for Lunar Industries for three years. Mining efficient energy (Helium-3) from the dark side of the moon, his contract is about to expire. But his time in isolation has toppled his thinker. No wonder, given his only form of company is a corporate computer (“Gerty”), voiced by Kevin Spacey.
After crashing a rover on the crater-ridden surface, Sam starts seeing things. Namely, his own spitting image. As he debates this delusion with his own doppelgänger, he begins to question his very existence. But Duncan’s deep drama never warps up its own blackhole. Keeping its convolution to a minimum, Moon is tight, taut and always tense. Even when the revelations begin to unfold halfway through.
With a stripped-down script and sublime cinematography, Duncan Jones creates a piece of pure delight. It’s elegant, understated and underscored by a great soundtrack by Clint Mansell, which echoes the looping, cyclical routine of Sam’s remote existence. Most of all, it’s a subtle showcase for Sam Rockwell’s stellar talent. Mad, morose, lonely and heartbroken, Sam steals our sympathy from the opening shot; true to his usual form, Moon’s one-man show never gets boring.
It helps, of course, that Kevin Spacey sounds so sinister, channeling his Frank Underwood-esque politeness to chilling effect. Expressing his thoughts with yellow emoticons, Gerty is a computer companion for the truly neurotic. Polite, helpful and monotonous to the last, he’s a dream come true for any paranoid astronaut alone in the cosmos. Paying homage to HAL, alongside Solaris and Silent Running, this thoughtful thriller is breathtaking, beautiful and brilliant.
Moon is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.