About an hour ago, the credits rolled on Moon. I went into the film knowing very little: the only trailer I’d seen featured Sam Rockwell looking disheveled, and had Kevin Spacey as a HAL-style AI that communicated via a combination of even, soothing tones, and smiley faces.
I won’t post any spoilers here, but suffice to say that I quite liked the film. It had echoes of 2001: a space odyssey, Blade Runner, Gattaca, and Alien. All of those films are included in what I consider the canon of excellent science fiction, which should tell you something about how thoroughly I enjoyed Moon.
Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, coming into the tail end of his three-year solo stint as the human overseer at a mining station on the moon’s far side. He keeps tabs on the unmanned rovers that comb the surface of the moon for He3, the fuel of the future.
Three years is a long time to be alone, and Sam’s looking forward to heading home to his loving wife and young daughter. He’s due — perhaps overdue — for a furlough. He might be going just a little teeny bit crazy. At the very least, he’s started to see things, people, that can’t really be there…
The movie explores loneliness, illness, loss and sorrow, anger, and evil. But everything’s done with a light touch. Some things are only hinted at, leaving the audience to fill in the gaps, trusting that the audience members are smart enough. Even the ending is sneaky: you have only a couple seconds’ knowledge that the dénouement has come, and then the credits are already rolling.
Moon is a refreshing SF film, one that encourages you to use your brain, to think around the corners. It requires that you watch the film with your mind in gear, instead of in neutral. It’s a refreshing change.
Next time (probably): » Kata at the shore