I thought that Moon might end up being an unreviewable film.
Thanks to an errant alarm clock and coding-induced insomnia, I found myself dozing during key moments of the film, leaving me in a fog of confusion for most of it. That’s not to say that the film was sleep inducing, as everybody else in the cinema (mostly young guys and kids) seemed riveted by the story. And with RM filling in the gaps for me afterwards, it sounded like it had been pretty good.
[Spoiler alert] Sam Bell is a living alone on the moon, working for Lunar Industries and mining gas as an energy resource for Earth. He’s nearing the end of his contract and is looking forward to seeing his family after three lonely years, with only GERTY, a talking computer, for company.
One day, Sam leaves the base to fix one of the mining machines. As he drives the rover, he becomes distracted by a vision and crashes. The next thing he knows, he’s in the infirmary and GERTY tells him that he’s been unconscious for a few days and is not ready to be moved. Suspicious, Sam deceives GERTY into letting him out of base and finds the injured Sam in the rover. WHAT??
Slowly the truth unravels….both of the Sams are clones. Lunar Industries have illegally cloned the original Sam, presumably to provide a steady supply of free labour. Each of the clones only has a life of about three years before they start disintegrating – the hardwiring in their mind starts fraying, leading to hallucinations and visions, and physically they start becoming more and more sick.
The two Sams devise a plan – one of them will escape to Earth and denounce Lunar Industries for its illegal activities and the deteriorating Sam will be placed back in the crashed rover where he will be found by the rescue team. They also awaken a new clone to cover the fact that one of the Sams has escaped to Earth.
As you can see, the storyline is imaginative and intricate and really deserves full attention, not the brief waking moments of a half-dozy blogger. Moon draws many parallels from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with its atmosphere of claustrophobia and paranoia. The role of GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) is a direct reference to HAL, so at first you believe that the computer has sinister motives. The computerised expressions it projects on its screen – smiley face, frown face – certainly add to your suspicions that it has been programmed to act in the interests of Lunar Industries and not Sam. However, as the story unfolds GERTY appears to be a friend rather than foe and it’s almost human in its interactions with Sam, twisting your expectations around. Finally, Sam Rockwell does a brilliant job playing what is effectively a one-man show in front of a blue screen – his reactions towards himself (and himself and himself) plus an inanimate computer are completely believable.