The Night Out: Moon (2009), or Impermanence

19 07 2009

Every now and then it’s good to go out on a limb. Today I went out and I just SAW a movie. No research, no testimony to back me up. I just went to the theater, balls out and ready for whatever hit me. It felt weird. For the first time in a while, I didn’t know what to expect. Luckily, I was in good hands with this film. Moon, directed by Duncan Jones, is a mesmerizing trip into the reaches of space from the comfort of our closest alien world, the moon. I was blown away; even though the territory is familiar, the personal experience is all new. It’s a saga of epic proportions set within the most intimate of settings, the landscape of intense isolation and loneliness.

Moon takes place in the unspecified future. Most of our energy on Earth comes from an element found on the surface of the moon. One man is stationed on an area of lunar landscape to oversee the project. His name is Sam Bell, and he has been all alone for 3 years. He works day in, day out, with nobody to talk to except the on-board computer helper named GERTY. He’s been going stir-crazy for a while, and has started to have strange visions that he can’t explain. It’s affecting his ability to work, and it all comes to a head one day when his lunar rover crashes into one of the mining apparatuses. He wakes up back at his base, weak but alive, but things are somehow different. He feels strange, GERTY is acting strange, and the higher-ups in his company are also acting strange. Everyone is forbidding him to go outside after his crash, and he wants to know why. He eventually sneaks his way to the outside of the base and to the scene of the accident, and what he finds there will change everything he knows about the world and his own life.

What a shocker! I wasn’t expecting such a deep, haunting film. It doesn’t reveal its hand at first, so be patient. When you understand what the movie is about, your imagination and your heart will be working overtime. This is an intensely artistic expression of loneliness and solitude in the style of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Its mood borrows heavily from that film, but the rest of the film, much like its content, is deeply personalized. Don’t even read too much after this. Just go see it. It’s in limited release, so go see it ASAP.

A hearty round of applause to Sam Rockwell, who plays Sam Bell. He carries the entire movie from start to finish. He is the only character besides the moon itself that has more than a minute of screen time. He is a rock, and he shows off a fantastic range. He is ALL alone on the lunar base, so with the exception of GERTY’s cold robotic presence, we are privy to this man’s most candid moments. It’s a wonder to behold, this long, at times excruciatingly lonely performance. I know it’s WAY too early to be screaming “Oscar”, but I wouldn’t feel right at the end of the year if Sam Rockwell wasn’t mentioned at least once.

The idea of space travel and human loneliness in the face of the cold universe is not a new concept, but never has it been taken to such a person-to-person level. It’s not a man being swallowed up by the reaches of space, but rather a man being engulfed by himself in the deepening shadows of space. There is a lot of emotional and philosophical subtext here, and I’d be a dick for ruining any of it, but you will have PLENTY to discuss once you leave the theater.

With top-notch special-effects, an amazing performance by THE Sam Rockwell, artful direction by Duncan Jones, and Kevin Spacey as GERTY for a cherry on top, Moon is a must-see. You really have to just drop what you’re doing and see it. Don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Don’t even read another review (who needs another opinion, anyways?). Just watch it and see it for yourself. It’s something you’re not likely to see replicated in quite some time. Just trust me for a change; I promise not to lead you astray! If I can go out and dare the fates a little bit, you can too! I give Moon 9 1/2 Kevin Spacey robots out of 10. What else do you need to know?

Tomorrow, we finish up recommendations from a long time ago with another recent movie, Doubt! Until then!!!

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3 responses

20 07 2009
366weirdmovies

I’ve been waiting anxiously to see this since the first reviews came out… it’s finally coming to my town! I plan to see it tomorrow and hope to give it a capsule review on Wednesday. Your review brings my excitement to a fever pitch, so if I’m disappointed, you’ll be partially to blame…

20 07 2009
cinematronica

YIKES! What Alan Rickman-like delivery on that last sentence! Well, I hope I don’t disappoint you. Apart from the spirited Salo discussion we had that one time (again; well played, friend), I feel like we’re on a similar wavelength in taste. I think you’ll like it a lot, even if you don’t LOVE it. You will at least agree that Sam Rockwell pours a lot into this, and you might even gain a respect you never had for him.

22 07 2009
366weirdmovies

You’re safe (for another review, at least)… I liked it a lot. I had no prior opinion n Sam Rockwell but I agree it’s a defining performace for him. I hope he gets some notice for it.

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