Moon (2009) – Duncan Jones

It’s been a while since I last watched Moon. In fact, I may not have watched it since it first came out. I remember delighting in it, and simply loving Sam Rockwell’s performance. So I was quite happy to settle in for it again, this time knowing how everything would play out, and pick up on the details.

Sam (Rockwell) is the lone worker on a lunar base that is harvesting the energy source Helium 3, he’s got two weeks left on a three year contract. His only company is the artificial intelligence that oversees the base.

He’s tired, ready to get home, and try to patch things up with his former partner, and meet his daughter. Unfortunately, he’s started seeing things, he’s not feeling so great, and he’s just had an accident on the lunar surface.

From there we are introduced to, well, Sam. It seems Sam is a clone, as is the new Sam in the base. But that just brings questions up about self, identity, and who has claim on what memories. Rockwell plays it very restrained, and you empathize with him every step of the way, as both versions of Sam attempt to reconcile what is going on, and what it means for him.

This time through I was really paying attention to a number of the details that I’m sure I caught before, subconsciously, but never really processed. The use of Chesney Hawkes’ One and Only takes on a whole new meaning; the production design seems to be a marriage between 2001, and Alien, leaning more towards A Space Odyssey, but with the lived in griminess of the Nostromo.

Everything rests on Rockwell’s performances, and he excels. He is able to bring differences to both Sams and make them both believable, as he follows each through on the arc.

And honestly, I just love how this film looks and feels. The lunar surface sequences look appropriately alien, and lonely and the A.I. with its smiley-face expressions can be a little unnerving, especially when you realize that it is keeping things from the Sams and the audience. It also has a nice Hal 9000 feel to it.

I remember seeing this one in the theatre, and just ate it up. Getting wrapped up in the performances, and just exploring the world Duncan Jones, his cast, and crew brought to life on the screen. And the realization that if such a thing were possible, you know that companies would be doing exactly what is done in this film.

Director Jones certainly garnered a lot of attention with this film, and his second one, Source Code. And I can’t wait to see him deliver another smart science fiction film.

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