Science fiction gets a fairly bum rap. It’s easy to blame the Spock-ear wearing, Klingon-quoting, uber geeks for this (see how I didn’t attack ‘The Wars’ as I’m secretly a light-saber wielding, Yoda’s-wisdom espousing super nerd) – but truth be told science fiction’s biggest problem of late is it’s been far too dumb.
The majority of the big summer releases can be categorised as sci-fi (from ‘Star Trek’ to ‘Transformers 2’ to ‘Terminator:Salvation’ all the way through to comedy dud ‘Land Of The Lost’) but they didn’t share a philosphical inkling or an existential thought between them. Which is kinda the point of science fiction. At least it should be. Thank the celestial beings, then, for ‘Moon’.
‘Moon’ features Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, an off-shore miner of sorts, if by off-shore you mean living on the dark side of the moon, who is 2 years and 340 odd days into a 3 year shift. With communication to Earth slightly hampered and having only a gay robot (well, its voiced by Kevin Spacey, can you say lawsuit?) to chat to, Sam starts to go a little loco.
To say too much more would be give the game away. And it’s a game that is just far too enjoyable to be spoilt by a hack “film critic” like me. Especially one that found himself, and I’m very ashamed to admit this, slightly bored 20 minutes into the film.
This boredom was mainly inspired by the opening ‘one man show’. Before the plot kicks off, it’s all a little hard to get on board with. Bear with it though and your patience will be rewarded with a ‘one man show’ that is exceptional.
“The ‘One man show’ is good, the ‘one man show’ is bad?” I know this won’t make much sense to those that haven’t seen the movie, but as I say, I’m reticent to spill any more of the beans. Even the trailer (above) is put together in such a way to keep the viewer ignorant of the plot. A rare thing indeed.
I can talk about how the central performance fom Sam Rockwell is award-worthy (but I’ll eat a piece of lunar rock if he actually gets any of the big nominations come Awards season) and the score by Clint Mansell is as beautiful as his previous work on ‘Requiem For A Dream’ and ‘The Fountain’, even if this time the beauty is hand-cuffed to a feeling of dread.
And it’s this dread that shows Duncan Jones (yes its Zowie Bowie) as a film-maker to watch. As the story unfurls it may, at times, play like an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ or ‘Outer Limits’, but as you’re wondering whether the film will go the ‘2001’ or ‘Event Horizon’ route you’re left with a film that’s closer to a certain other British Directors sci-fi thought-fest.
Again to say which film would give away too much, but for those that have seen it and fancy a guess, post in the comments below. And while you’re there, praise me for not making any Bowie related puns, like ‘Zowie’s Space Oddity’ or ‘Junior Stardust’ or, I don’t know, ‘Ground Control to Major Sam’ or… can I go to bed now?