Quickie: Moon

tumblr_lordged86n1qhzdcmo1_500Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is nearing the end of his contract overseeing the mining of gas from the Earth’s moon. It is just he and robot pal GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) until a moon buggy accident sets off a series of peculiar and puzzling events.

Moon is the debut feature of director Duncan Jones (otherwise known as David Bowie’s son) and was clearly made on a somewhat ‘small’ budget (around $5,000,000). However, financial limitations have clearly not impeded Jones in making an intimate and concise film that can easily stand up to, and in some cases head and shoulders above, some of the more heavyweight science fiction films of the past decade or so. The film has a story that would be easy to over-complicate but is kept relatively simple here. It gives you the main twist pretty early on which does lessen its impact a little but does help you to connect the dots as you go along rather than after the film has finished.

The film’s design is also pretty simple, but it works perfectly. Some of the models used will have you thinking all the way back to Star Wars and there are several nods to Kubrick’s 2001 but yet the film never feels dated. The score from Clint Mansell is also superb and adds a huge amount to the film’s overall feel.

Mention should be made of Sam Rockwell who does an excellent job and is proving to be a very underrated actor. Here he is acting largely on his own (kind of), yet manages to carry that burden admirably. Moon isn’t the most groundbreaking film you’ll ever see but it has more than enough to establish itself as one of the most satisfying sci-fi films of recent years.

4 pigeons

4/5 pigeons

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60 thoughts on “Quickie: Moon

  1. ckckred says:

    Nice review. I absolutely love this film.

  2. Tyson Carter says:

    Still havent seen it, despite being constantly told how good it is. Your name is another to that list, nice job dude πŸ™‚

  3. keith7198 says:

    A movie I’ve been meaning to see for some time.

  4. CMrok93 says:

    Wonderful performance from Rockwell that just always continued to get better and better as the movie went along and more about the movie’s mystery was revealed. Good review.

  5. Nice write-up. I absolutely love this film. Sam Rockwell’s performance is so good that the intricacies of the plot become natural story-telling rather than gimmicky. The look of it is also beautiful in it’s simplicity.

  6. Moon is awesome, Chris. I agree, too, the design work was standout. Helps that they had budget limitations I guess, but “concise” is a good word for it.

    Rockwell was awesome here, and the script was very clever. Plus of course, Kevin Spacey’s GERTY! πŸ˜€

    • Ha! I love GERTY! Spacey was just perfect to voice that. I think you’re right in that the budget limitations did actually help the film. If they had a massive budget then there could have been all kinds of CGI and stuff that would have taken away so much of its charm.

  7. Dan Heaton says:

    Haven’t seen Moon since the theaters, but I was blown away at that point. I think Rockwell carries the movie, and it doesn’t work without him. Duncan Jones also gets amazing effects on a limited budget and makes it seem more epic than it is. Glad you enjoyed it!

  8. mikes75 says:

    Nice review, between Moon and Source Code Jones went pretty high on my list of directors who’s movies I watch for.

    • Thanks Mike. He’s definitely had a strong start to his directorial career, although I didn’t like the ending of Source Code. I’m not too sure about him doing a film version of World of Warcraft though.

  9. Great review. I keep hearing great things about this one!

  10. table9mutant says:

    Good review. πŸ™‚ I really liked this & agree it’s one of the better sci-fi films of recent years. So much better than Oblivion was…

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ I’m glad you mentioned Oblivion. I watched Oblivion before I saw this, which was a huge mistake. I couldn’t believe how similar the two films were and I think I had seen the far inferior Oblivion did slightly hamper my enjoyment of this as I had recently seen a film with a very similar plot. I genuinely couldn’t believe how similar the plots were!

      • table9mutant says:

        I know – I’m glad I saw (the superior) Moon first. When it got toward the end of Oblivion I was like “Seriously? Moon did this so much better”. Plus countless other sci-fi movies before Oblivion…

      • Exactly. I thought Oblivion was alright, but as soon as I saw Moon, I thought a lot less of it. It really did just feel like a complete rip off.

  11. Plan on finally catching this one soon. Nice writeup, Chris!

  12. filmhipster says:

    My favorite Rockwell film? Maybe. Best sci-fi between 2000-2009? Absolutely. Nice post Chris.

    • It would definitely be up there for me too, I couldn’t think of many sci-fi films that even come close. I’ve only seen a few Rockwell films but this is one of the best I’ve seen him in, although he was brilliant in Seven Psychopaths as well. Thanks Chris.

  13. claratsi says:

    nice Quickie. Great great movie! As you point out it’s simplicity is it’s most effective strength. When Sci-fi does the basics -well, as here it’s when it’s at it’s best. nice review!

  14. Nick Powell says:

    Incredible movie. Sam Rockwell is my favorite actor and this is one of my favorite sci-fi movies of recent memory, along with Sunshine.

  15. ruth says:

    I really like Rockwell and I was impressed by Duncan Jones’ direction in Source Code, but for some reason I haven’t got around to this one. Your review reminds me I should give this a rent soon, thanks Chris!

  16. r361n4 says:

    Simple indeed, but amazingly executed. Glad you liked this one, it’s modern proof that Sci-Fi can be small and still be good πŸ™‚

  17. ZoΓ« says:

    Awesome review! I have heard about this, and was recently thinking I should really watch it!

  18. Mark Hobin says:

    This is the movie Oblivion wanted to be. Great review!

  19. sati says:

    Glad you liked this one! Rockwell is incredible he really deserves more award love, I haven’t seen one bad performance from this guy.

  20. le0pard13 says:

    Love this small sci-fi film that represented Duncan Jones’ directorial debut. Fine write-up, Chris.

  21. nediunedited says:

    I really liked this. So bare bones it forces you to focus on the character–which is kind of brilliant. Rockwell is awesome.

    Great quickie! πŸ˜€

  22. Popcorn Nights says:

    I really liked this, an excellent debut feature by Jones (although I was disappointed by Source Code). Rockwell’s really good, have liked him ever since Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Nice review mate!

    • Thanks Stu. I wasn’t overly enamored with Source Code either. I thought it was decent enough but the ending completely ruined it for me. I haven’t seen Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, though, I’ll have to check that out as I think Rockwell’s a great actor.

  23. rorydean says:

    I was pretty sure going in that this was going to be a good movie and after 10 minutes I was set – I’ve been a fan of Sam Rockwell for long time. He was great in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Matchstick Men. On a side note, I’m a filmmaker in the Bay Area (San Francisco) and I got a chance to meet Sam’s father at a casting call I was holding for my short film (www.oncebeautifulpast.com) which was pretty cool. You’re right on about the simplicity of this film and how well crafted it is. I haven’t reviewed it yet but It’s on my short list. I think I watched Source Code about the same time and boy, was that one a let down. It’s funny when you take two films with such different budgets but the same possibility for success and well, you end up with Source Code and Moon. Thanks for the review, looking forward to reading more. cheers0>

    • Thanks for stopping by Rory! I love Sam Rockwell, too, he was absolutely brilliant in Seven Psychopaths and that’s very cool you got to meet his dad.
      I agree with you about Source Code. A lot of people love it but I was disappointed with it. I thought it was fine up until the ending and then it just went off the rails. Can’t say i’m really looking forward to Duncan Jones doing World of Warcraft either to be honest.

      • rorydean says:

        I don’t get out as much as I’d like! I actually haven’t seen 7, but should – many others have dug it. Yeah, I was kinda blown away. Hey, drop over and check out my review of Source Code. Love to hear your thoughts. I’ve been surprised at how many people liked it. I don’t know about WWC..cheers->

      • Definitely recommend Seven Psychopaths, it’s pretty crazy. I’ve followed your blog now so I’ll pop over and see what’s going on! πŸ™‚

  24. Nostra says:

    Amazing sci fi movie which hasn’t had enough attention in my opinion

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