Saturday, January 30, 2010
Moon; Science-fiction drama, UK, 2009; D: Duncan Jones, S: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey (voice), Dominique McElligott
In the future, Sam is the only employee on a Moon station, operating special vehicles that extract Helium-3 for clean energy on Earth. His only companion is computer Gerty while he hears about his wife and daughter via a delayed video communication. Just as his 3 year contract is about to end, he has an accident in his vehicle and falls unconscious. Sam wakes up back in the station, but returns back to the wrecked vehicle and discovers himself there. After his second self regains consciousness, they realize they are both clones used for slave labor and that the real Sam has long time ago returned back on Earth. The injured Sam stays behind, but the healthy one manages to escape from the execution squad and go to Earth.
A critically acclaimed feature length debut film, Duncan Jones' "Moon" finds inspiration in clever 70s and 80s science-fiction films like "Silent Running" and "Blade Runner" that placed more emphasis on psychological drama, but finds enough energy on its own to make those role models proud. The "one-man-show" relies heavily on the performance by Sam Rockwell who is, de facto, almost the only actor throughout the story, yet he does a very fine job while the screenplay was nicely constructed to show just the consequences of a morally failed action, nothing else - but here nothing else is needed. It's a story about humanity and everything was said in the film. There's a plot twist that appears already some 20 minutes into the film, when Sam discovers his cloned self, and that they are just pawns in a sick game orchestrated by greedy multi-corporations to do their job cheaply, which unfolds like a futuristic version of the Sisyphus myth on the Moon. In doing so, Sam gets to know himself better and the movie shows how valuable humanity is without turning preachy. The second plot twist towards the end was also equipped with a neat surprise. As a one-note concept, the movie seems rather overstretched and lacks diversity, which is why it turns slightly grey at times, but those are necessary flaws to present a thought provoking and gripping allegory. "Blade Runner" pretty much already said everything about clones and their "lesser value" status in the World, but even "Moon" said something new about the latter.