Sam Rockwell, for years a favourite character actor, finally gets to step into the spotlight in this clever and carefully made throwback to SF’s golden age. Or at least my idea of its golden age – Moon would have been right at home in the time of Silent Running and Soylent Green. Like those movies, it belies its low budget by clever production design and a focus on character and story. (Yes, I am blaming George Lucas for spoiling it all)
Rockwell seizes the opportunity and gets to show an unsuspected range of acting ability, anchoring the plot in reality just when it looks like floating away. He plays Sam Bell, an astronaut separated from his family and on a 3-year solo lunar mission to send energy supplies back to Earth. Funny how the last bit of that sentence seems the most unlikely bit but it seemed to work at the time. Rockwell’s only companion is the moonbase computer voiced by Kevin Spacey in a suitably reassuring way that can’t help appearing a bit sinister.
postit After setting the scene well, and just when we start to share in Sam’s boredom, there’s an accident and all his assumptions, and ours, are ruined. It’s a clever plot twist that also adds a lot of depth to Rockwell’s performance, and you’ll just have to see it to find out what I’m trying to avoid spoiling. IT also gives us an emotional final act that’s a bit unexpected given the deliberate pacing of the movie up to then.
It’s a confident and accomplished first feature from Duncan Jones, proving that anyone can make it in our brave new egalitarian world.