Top notch, old-fashioned sci-fi

Submitted by Robert Alstead on Mon, 06/22/2009 - 00:35

Sci-fi movies have become increasingly indistinguishable from standard action movies with their big bangs, superheroes, and battles with hostile aliens or murderous machines.

Moon comes from that tradition where space provides a wilderness setting for the exploration of the condition of man. Instead of special-effect whizz-bangs, it offers a quietly impressive and thought-provoking story that in its look and theme pays homage to classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris.

Sam (great performance by Sam Rockwell) is coming to the end of a three-year contract mining Helium 3 – Earth’s new energy source – from a base on the dark side of the moon with only a computer called GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) for company. He is desperately looking forward to going home to see his wife and family, but with only days to go before his relief arrives his reality starts unravelling.

A mature debut feature from Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie), this is one of those films that really benefits from you knowing as little as possible about it before you see it. What I can say is that the story teases you with possibilities and plot turns as Sam is forced to confront himself in an eerie, existentialist way.