July 18, 2009

moonOne of the best movies of the summer is likely to go little seen, at least in comparison to movies about toys and wizards: Moon, directed by Duncan Jones and starring Sam Rockwell, is an intelligent, absorbing mystery/science fiction thriller about a man, two weeks to the end of his contract as the solitary overseer of a lunar base owned by a energy company, who begins to suspect he is not alone. To say much more about the movie would be to ruin it a bit, since the part of the enjoyment of Moon is its careful and deliberately paced storytelling. Its futuristic premise is handled in a manner that recalls Kubrick and Tarkovsky rather than Lucas, and the movie’s focus is on its characters rather than its special effects, the latter of which refreshingly and effectively eschew computer generated ones in favor of practical ones. Moon is a movie of ideas, particularly about our relationships to technology, but also to place, to each other and, perhaps most profoundly, to ourselves. The brunt of the movie is carried on Rockwell’s very capable back, for reasons that will become apparent as the movie progresses, but there’s good, unexpectedly moviing work from Kevin Spacey as the voice of the base’s artificial intelligence, and from Dominique McElligott as his wife on Earth. It stumbles a bit towards the end, but not much. All in all, this is a great story with great performances, adding up to a great movie.


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