Review: Moon

Review: Moon

Moon is the first feature-length effort of Duncan Jones, formerly and more widely-known as Zowie Bowie, rock star David Bowie’s son. It’s an ambitious first outing but Jones manages to pull it off. Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is the sole astronaut on a moon-based space station. Machines collect Helium 3, which now powers 70% of […]

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Moon is the first feature-length effort of Duncan Jones, formerly and more widely-known as Zowie Bowie, rock star David Bowie’s son. It’s an ambitious first outing but Jones manages to pull it off.

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is the sole astronaut on a moon-based space station. Machines collect Helium 3, which now powers 70% of the Earth, and it’s Sam’s job to rocket launch the full tanks back home. After three years, his tour is nearly complete and Sam expects his replacement to arrive soon for training. He exchanges video messages with his wife and watches his daughter grow via a monitor. Sam’s only direct communication is with GERTY (Kevin Spacey), an artificially intelligent computer that shows basic emotions by displaying emoticons. An accident and curiosity eventually lead to some surprising discoveries and tough decisions.

Moon is definitely channelling Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its minimalist science fiction vessel. Without revealing too much, the story’s Outer Limits-style twist is less shocking than intriguing to watch unfold once it’s revealed. It poses questions regarding morality and science and the emotional capacity of humans versus machines.

Rockwell is exceptional in every aspect of the emotional fun house in which the story is set. Spacey’s voice is largely recognizable, but it also carries an uncanny ability to be nearly monotone yet capable of emitting profound feeling. Combined with the emoticons, the illusion that the computer feels is wholly realized.

Recent sci-fi has been so reliant on epic destruction and CGI characters that this return to the basics and a good story is long-awaited.


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