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Moon: Or, Sam Rockwell goes crazy

Updated on December 21, 2010

This movie is one of the best works of science fiction I've seen in a while. It also showcases one of the best performances I've seen from Sam Rockwell, as well as Kevin Spacey (even though only Spacey's voice appears in the the movie). I suspect that in ten years this movie will have joined the canon of classic science fiction films easily.

Set some time in the comparatively near future (maybe 100 years or so), "Moon" revolves around a Korean company that has figured out how to extract helium 3 from moon rocks and then ship that to the Earth in order to produce an energy source that has replaced fossil fuels completely.

While this is great for the people on Earth, it sucks for Sam Bell (Rockwell), the single crewmember assigned to the Sarang moon base for three years where the harvesting takes place. His only companion is GERTY, an artificial intelligence that runs the base and has been charged with keeping Sam alive and healthy, and infrequent pre-recorded messages from his wife (he has been told that the satellite meant to transmit instant communication is on the fritz). As the movie opens, Sam only has 2 weeks left until his term is up, but the loneliness has clearly been wearing on him, and he is more than anxious to be done with his two weeks and get back to Earth.

However, while outside driving around in a moon rover, Sam hallucinates and crashes into one of the harvesters. He wakes up in the infirmary, with GERTY tending to him and confining him inside until a rescue mission has been sent to make sure everything is alright. However, Sam manages to get outside, and discovers the wreck of the moon rover, with a man inside that looks exactly like him...

The rest of the film is a psychological thriller, as both Sams try to figure out what is going on, and what Lunar Industries have been hiding from them. Although the mystery is not all that hard to guess, it is still a satisfying one, and there are some rather unique twists and turns to it. The only major weirdness to the plot is that both Sams seem to restrain their curiosity about one another for a surprisingly long time--I know if I was in their situation I'd be badgering my double constantly. But aside from that, it was a great story.

Sam Rockwell deserves to be commended for this film. He pulls off two very different Sams, making them both very distinct from one another while simultaneously showing that they come from the same source. One Sam is angry, active, and curious, while the other is more passive and weary. Since Rockwell is largely the only actor in the film (besides Spacey's voice and brief videos from other people that Sam watches), he has to carry it, and he more than does.

Spacey also deserves acclaim, managing to personify GERTY in a way that is hard to believe for a machine that looks essentially like a large white movie box with a screen on it showing shifting emoticons. GERTY is obviously meant to evoke HAL from "2001," with the impersonal eye camera, eerily emotionless voice, and seemingly implacability on certain matters. However, this evocation is misleading, as one of the most satisfying discoveries of the movie is how remarkably unlike HAL GERTY is.

All in all, this was a great film, and I look forward to more works by its writer/director Duncan Jones. Definitely worth watching for anyone interested in science fiction, as well as anyone just looking for a great movie.    


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    • Titen-Sxull profile image


      7 years ago from back in the lab again

      I agree, this movie is great. It has a pretty simple plot and only a handful of characters yet it works in every way. Sam Rockwell gives a very convincing and moving performance. Definitely the best sci-fi film I've seen in a long time.


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