This review may contain spoilers
Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles - I'm feeling very still And I think my spaceship knows what I must do - And I think my life on Earth is nearly through - Space Oddity; David Bowie
“I hope life on Earth is everything you remember it to be.”– GERTY
Director Duncan Jones’s first feature-length makes you keep guessing. It is a film that requires a lot from the keen viewer and at ninety-three minutes, it isn’t asking for much.
Existential delusions the loneliness of space and time and darkness make this film one of the best science-fictions out there; a shoe-string film that surprised everyone.
Thirty minutes into the film and I had lost sense of time. Moon is woven with care, the models crafted with much intricacy. Having said that, the quantity of character(s) in the film – at times – holds you back. From what I read it was a financial thing. However, Jones and Rockwell pull it off pretty nicely. Jone’s Moon is characterized by a complication of imagery and ideas, obscurity, entanglement.
The cinematography by Gary Shaw; the barren, desolate, wasteland, empty, black, intimidating loneliness stretching on forever, mythic, throwback, a plausible yet mysterious texture of Moon saturates the sparse narrative and puts it on a direct collision course of closed spaces of the Sarang Station, concentrated with feelings and (again) ideas of cognitive reasoning; the utilitarian tendencies of technological progress and the obstinate human nature, desire, the persistency of feelings that cannot be contained by the imperatives and advancement of science.
There is also a robot (Kubrick’s HAL 9000 has become an integral part of our subconscious) named GERTY voiced by Kevin Spacey. I also happened to finish watching Se7en, 1995, for a fifth time, a couple of days back and the guy is invisible yet, the guy is all over the place.
Of genre-trapping, there had to be some, only if to come to terms with a plot this sensitive. The script, written by Jones and Nathan Parker becomes retro in its telling of a tale of a man marooned on a barren topography, yet very real when the finished goods are for taking.
The moon-landscape is lifeless and dreary even though the moon-surface images are full color and taken from the Japanese lunar orbiter, SELENE, they still appear to be monochrome, lifeless & in stark contrast to culture and romance; things that make us human. The memories and the jammers; installed for the very reason to make the astronaut & the keen viewer bereft of life. To make the mission a success, lest some human impulse gets there first to interfere.
Sam Rockwell does a stellar job, playing a character this complex. His portrayal of Sam Bell, the decaying astronaut, is skillful and rhythmic, elevated, and debilitating at the same time. The ending, I feel, is being overrated by people calling it ‘a major confrontation‘ – as opposed to a morbid realization and the acceptance of a rescinding destiny.
The film and everything about it is an idea, an unbalanced idea, a film that does not have an end or even a beginning for that matter. It leaves the keen viewers questioning their beliefs and conditioning; the memories, who do they really belong to? Does it make a difference to the immortal clockwork when we are being sent back to Earth?
Heavy fuel, I know; I loved watching Rockwell’s undaunting performance, which adds to the film’s enduring achievement. He is a fine one, with a taciturn tonal inference that adds to the desperation of Sam Bell, especially when he calls home.
The film also gives homage to films like THX 1138, 1971, Solaris, 1972, Alien, 1979 and 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968 among other genre-bending ventures into space. An eccentric, poignant and thoughtful watch that asks how long will you live for? Or how long does the mind think you’ve lived for?
250,000 miles from home, the hardest thing to face…is yourself”– Tag-line for Moon
Moon can be watched as Netflix Exclusive and a copy of the Blu-ray can be bought by clicking on the image above.