Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #14: "Moon" (2009)

Movie Stats:
Released 2009 (USA)
British, in English
Director - Duncan Jones
Stars - Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey

Plot Summary:
The lone human employee of a mining company on the moon, Sam Bell (Rockwell), begins to experience strange goings-on at the tail end of his three-year contract. Spacey co-stars as the voice of the base’s computer, GERTY.

Lots of blue language; violence; lots of gore; sexy times; brief male nudity (butt only).

Bad Stuff:
The pacing is quite slow. Not exactly a thrill-a-minute.

There are some definite plot holes. [HUGE SPOILERS]
For example, if they’ve got the technology for a relatively intelligent computer like GERTY, why does there need to be a human employee on base at all? Or, why implant Sam Bell’s memories into the clones’ brains? Why not implant the memories of someone who likes to be alone and isolated? Most perplexing of all, if for whatever arbitrary reason you only want the clones to live for three years, so you code them to die, why not just code them to drop dead of an aneurysm or something? Coding them so that they get horrendously sick before dying seems unnecessarily cruel, not to mention inefficient. Maybe it wasn't coding. Maybe that's just the shelf life of clones, but then they should explain that.

Good Stuff:
If you’re going to pick just one person to carry a whole film, Sam Rockwell is an excellent choice.

I like the twist. It’s one of those films that definitely isn’t what you think it is, based on the beginning. I really thought one thing was happening and then, bang, it went in a completely different direction.

It’s great at showing rather than telling. To me, it was a welcome contrast to the two Tarkovsky films I just watched. In the Tarkovsky films, the characters do a lot of expounding, spelling out for the audience what issues they should be thinking about. This film shows you the situation and lets you draw your own conclusions about what’s right or wrong in it.

The Verdict:
This movie is unexpectedly deep. At only 97 minutes long, and largely starring just one person, you think to yourself, “What could it really have to say?” The answer is, a lot, but it shows it to you rather than saying it. While it covers a lot of the same themes that are so common in sci fi, such as the nature of humanity, it approaches them in a way that feels fresh and different. Some know-it-alls will tell you they saw the twist coming, but I didn’t the first time I watched it. It’s a good reveal. I do think the plot could be a little tighter, but other than that it’s pretty solid. Definitely one of the better sci fi films to grace the early 21st century.

I give it 4 stars.

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