Sam Rockwell stars in MOON, directed Duncan Jones for Sony Pictures Classics.

Moon (2009, Duncan Jones)

Moon is quite good.

Moon’s not the most impossible film to talk about without spoiling… but some of its goodness is wrapped up in its plot developments. The viewer should get to enjoy Moon without knowing about them in advance.

I have to be very careful in terms of those developments. I’ll try to avoid talking about all of them.

While the film’s good, Sam Rockwell movies sometimes get to be about marveling at his acting skills. The film isn’t necessarily superior; his performance is startling. He’s always fresh, never resembling anything anyone has ever done before.

Jones does an excellent job directing the film, which isn’t easy since he’s awakening the quality sci-fi genre from its dormant state. His influences are visible—a clear one is Alien, but I won’t spoil it—but he ranges from 2001 to Outland. Moon feels like a return to that late sixties through early eighties sci-fi genre picture. Even the film’s unfortunately traditional conclusion makes it fit.

At a certain point, Jones loses track of the film’s successes. It’s too bad; at times, Moon is singular (again, I can’t say too much without spoiling).

The hipster music—from Clint Mansell—fails. Though I suppose a lot of Moon is, depending on how much you want to read into it, hipster. But there’s a solid core to the picture.

While it is a promising debut from Jones, Moon’s mostly just another great Rockwell performance.

It’s too bad it’s not a great film.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Duncan Jones; screenplay by Nathan Parker, based on a story by Jones; director of photography, Gary Shaw; edited by Nicolas Gaster; music by Clint Mansell; production designer, Tony Noble; produced by Stuart Fenegan and Trudie Styler; released by Sony Pictures Classics.

Starring Sam Rockwell (Sam Bell), Kevin Spacey (GERTY), Dominique McElligott (Tess Bell), Kaya Scodelario (Eve Bell), Benedict Wong (Thompson) and Matt Berry (Overmeyers).

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