July 17, 2009

Review: To the 'Moon' – Sam Rockwell Goes Forth

Duncan Jones (aka Zowie Bowie), the son of rock lothario, David Bowie has crafted an ambitious directorial debut with his low-budget sci-fi thriller, Moon. Although made for only a minuscule production budget of five million dollars, through the use of incredible practical effects, miniatures and in-camera visuals, Moon not only succeeds, but excels at crafting a dark, moody, sterile atmosphere that truly represents the isolation of space and benality of menial labour.

The captivating Sam Rockwell stars as lonely astronaut miner, Sam Bell, more or less on his own. Actually, he acts against himself in dual roles that is nothing short of mesmerizing and powerful. Taking a look at the trailer, you are given the reveal that there are two Sams on the moon, but there is so much more to this threadline. Watching the film, you start to ask questions about the logistics and practicality of a single worker taking care of an entire space station by himself with only the help of a computer system/robot (voiced by Kevin Spacey) for help.

Slowly, the story meticulusly and deliberately unravels at a calculated and deliberate pace that is in tune with the reveal of character traits and motivations. Moon is a love letter to better, more ambitious sci-fi, space films like Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and plays directly off your expectations of these kinds of films and crafts a chilling, coherent, thoughtful narrative.

The character development and commentary on the human experience is sort of built around characters being cut off from humanity entirely. Also, the subtle, gentle musical score by Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream) is haunting and touching. Moon is such a well-made ambitious film and is quite an auspicisous debut. It suceeds in its limited narrative boldy as it thoughtfully explores the humanity of its characters while creating a beautiful landscape to look at and reflect upon.

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