Thursday, July 2, 2009


"Moon" is an ambitious but flawed feature-length directorial debut for Duncan Jones, a well-made film with a brilliant premise brought down by a poor structure. It opens with an ad for a new source of energy, harnessed sun power, collected by the LUNAR company's field operatives, like Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell). Bell is in the final two weeks of his contract on the job, supported by his computer-with-a-primitive-voice Gerty (Kevin Spacey), and with the hopes of returning to his wife and child (Dominique McElligott and Kaya Scodelario, respectively). Although there are a couple of little confrontations, everything seems to run smoothly.

Then, Bell has a terrible accident in a rover while on the job. When he recuperates, he goes out to investigate. What he finds is Sam Bell, in a crashed rover. I thought here that the double was played by Rockwell as well (which would have been a cool double that you don't find very often anymore, except for Nicholas Cage in "Adaptation"), but instead of technically duplicating the lead, they put in a stand-in of Robin Chalk. I'm not sure if he has a speaking part, since it sounded a lot like Rockwell, but if so, it's a great impression. Anyways, he finds another Sam, and sets the film in a completely different direction. I'm not going to reveal the significance of this moment, but it is pretty brilliant and very "Primer"-esque. Speaking technically for a moment, the cinematography by Gary Shaw is great, the art direction puts you on the moon, and the great theme by Clint Mansell ("Requiem for a Dream") is very dark and creates a depressing and insane mood. I guess Rockwell is good here.

"Moon," however interesting and inflicting it is (I left the film with a headache, since the film is entrapping and powerful like Steve McQueen's "Hunger"), is far from a perfect film. There is an abundance of loose ends and scenarios that you have to twist your mind around, which is okay, but there at some point too many. The ending is full of these bends. It's very confusing and unsatisfying. There also seems to be too few obstacles in the path of Sam. I believe that Jones thought insanity was enough. But it's really not. When the later events occur, everything seems to go too smoothly (although the benevolent twist on the computer was good). There needed to be a little more time added on, possibly to enhance what was there and to further lock the viewer into a space-induced bind. A space epic, possibly? Yes, but that wasn't there. The film can be obscure then suddenly glaringly obvious (take what Gerty tells one of the Sams later on). With polish, "Moon" would have been so much better. B-

No comments: