Science Fiction used to be just that: fictional storytelling with an underlying, relatable theme set in a fantastic environment pseudo-grounded within the realities of science. Authors like Heinlein, Bradbury, and Dick understood and thrived in this medium, setting the tempo for the imaginations of the next generation; their film adaptations, for the most part, were not as spectacular. That next generation, however, seemed to forget the thematic elements of such stories and focused instead on the spectacle of fiction. Moon pleasantly and professionally recaptures the feel and the message of those tales from a by-gone era.
Moon is, essentially, a one-man play admirably performed by the Oscar-overlooked Sam Rockwell, playing Sam Bell, a miner overseeing a solo three-year operation on the moon. Bell spends his time focusing on his work, staving off boredom, and interacting with the station’s HAL-esque computer system, the Spielbergian-named GERTY, perfectly-voiced by a cold, or is that cool, Kevin Spacey. An accident out on the lunar surface grabs Bell’s attention to discover that, surprise-surprise, things are not all well with Lunar Industries and that his indentured slavery to the corporation might come with a greater price than imagined.
Directed by Duncan Jones, whose father knows a thing or two about the oddities of space, Moon absorbs the viewer into Bell’s tight living space. The film’s lo-fi F/X work has a high-point amplifying that classic sf-movie feel giving proper attention to the story, not the visuals. But as such, the look is starting real as is the permeable paranoia that also exists on the station, a paranoia that is enhanced by Clint Mansell’s simple yet haunting orchestration, a paranoia that leads to a quest for escape. But who can escape the reaches of a corporation?
With Moon, Jones crafts a mystery around Bell’s service, his life, and his destiny. He also brings into question how much of our souls are willingly sold to corporations and the almighty, intergalactic dollar as well as poses if we have what it would take to escape.