Saturday, August 08, 2009

"Moon" (2009) - Movie Review

Sam Rockwell is not someone I would expect to run a Lunar station. In most of his films he is shabby and uncoordinated. Here too he bodes that characteristic but he is more coordinated in one of the characters in the film or the same in different outlook. Confusing? Anyway, directed by debutant Duncan Jones, “Moon” is a science fiction on the lunar satellite with sensibility than effects.

Duncan Jones is working against the odds of audience’s intelligence due to previous ventures in this realm. When the voice of GERTY provided by Kevin Spacey arrives with the lonely crew in the base station of the moon, the decision of the culprit is like finding a person on the internet. Hallucinations, going crazy are phenomenon trained and exercised in finding out the deus ex machina. With that in background, what does “Moon” offer? It offers an intelligent entertainment in the science fiction genre which has become a playground for abundant effects garbage.

The man in the station is providing a global service to the humanity in the future. He has signed up a three year contract with a corporate energy provider Lunar Industries. The moon’s availability to give the Helium for energy production needs a one man team in the station and monitor the harvesters. Sam Bell has worked hard for three years and we are told that live transmission has been blocked due to satellite damage. Hence recorded transmission go back and forth. He is high on hopes of seeing his wife Tess (Dominique McElligott) and his young daughter Eve. He begins to see things and gets into an accident. He wakes up with GERTY monitoring him. What happened and how did he got back to the station follows up the rest of the film. I would advice to watch the film to read further but well, it is upto you. I think I did not give out much.

Rockwell is in almost every frame of the film and that is lot of responsibility. As the 3 year worked up astronaut, his chores are exercising and watching classic TV series. He is dreaming about making love to Tess and this does not help. When the story develops wherein there are more than one Sam, he shows the difference in the same personality. One is tired and deteriorating and other is fresh, smart and novice. All his characteristic in good health but for some reason unable to unravel the mystery behind this station.

Duncan Jones formulated the story and was written for screen by Nathan Parker. Their script works immensely on closed quarters. The investigation of Sams on this lonely clay surface is mystic. GERTY does follow commands and has emotions but his machinations are not that of HAL 9000 or the “I, Robot” antagonist. His primary objective becomes the aiding for the residents in the station.

This on the surface appears to be a visual driven film but it is more plot driven. It has revelations which builds the blocks and set as a platform for the next. The secret is not shocker but blossoms into the dark possibilities. The evil nature of the corporation does not seem to change much in the future of Duncan Jones. Immediately we do realize the cloning coming to mind when the Sam hit by accident is discovered by Sam two we seen recovering in the station. But what happens in between these two could have turned into an ugly setting. Both are astonished by this, yet begin to form a weird bond to figure things out.

“Moon” never bores and never looks for opportunities to explain itself more than it supposed to. It does not become a riddle for the sake of it and uses the smartness of its characters and the script to wonder how the end is going to be. The picturing of the Moon’s surface is breathtaking. While Stanley Kubrick took everything away from all the future directors of the science fiction, Duncan Jones does his part to make it merge with his film.

The success of the film relies heavily upon Sam Rockwell who portrays multiple characters without any amazement to it. One dying slowly while the other becoming aware of the circumstance and beginning to empathize their situation. The music of Clint Mansell stands out. I have noticed in reviewing any film, the score takes a deep underneath existence. And repeatedly composers like Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer and Clint Mansell while have names does not get their recognition in the reviews. In “Moon” Clint Mansell follows up his liking for fantasy and science fiction film to independent makers with love and passion. “Moon” is effective, thrilling and astute.

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