I finally got to see this much talked about, minimalist science fiction film from debut director David Bowie's Son (Duncan Jones).
I have to say up-front that I was bothered about the premise of this film from the moment that I first heard it in teaser ads: lone inhabitant of a Lunar mining station goes bonkers - maybe.
People go nutso when they are all alone for too long and there is no way that anyone investing the untold billions necessary to mine the moon would risk their profits to the care of a mad man.
Given the advance praise and ballyhoo, I figured that there had to be some decent explanatory background that would make this problem with the concept go away, and I withheld my judgment.
No such luck. Sam is up there all by himself (with the exception of the Kevin Spacey robot/computer/nurse maid, sounding like Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects, a voice seemingly intentionally designed to drive any person, lonely or otherwise, absolutely stark, raving mad.
[Spoiler Alert] The denouement and the explanation that should have made my reservations go away is that Sam is actually a clone, permanently on a three year contract, quickened and fooled into believing that his lack of memory is the result of an accident, disposed of easily after being tricked into believing that an incinerator is actually his ride back home to Earth. Sam the clone is kept in the dark by a fake communications break down (he can receive - taped messages - but can't send) and by the erstwhile computer/robot that lovingly smothers him with attention.
The clone explanation didn't do it for me; Sam could have walked to the nearest mountain at any time, jiggered his comm equipment and talked to any number of HAM operators down here. Sam could have rebooted the computer and delved into its innermost secrets (he's got plenty of time as evidenced by his numerous hobbies and the perhaps five minutes of actual work we see him do). If I were alone on a Lunar base with a communications break down, I don't think I'd be doing much else beyond trying to get it fixed - Keyser Soze or no.
Moon is yet another Science Fiction movie with little or no attention paid to the 'science' part of the name.
If we look beyond that - and I did - we're left with:
some superb acting, some excellent set design and a psychological drama that's up there with the best of them.
I was particularly enamored of the obvious homage that was paid to 2001: A Space Odyssey throughout the film - set, dialogue, Spacey's computer voice (HAL by any other name is spelled GERTY), even a light show scene joyously riffed on in a humorous, in-jokey way.
The visualization of the mining base, the harvesters automatically 'mining' Helium 3, various other technologies were all spot on, which makes it all that much more puzzling that the rest of the science (Sam the clone) was so iffy.
The only saving grace for that comes at the very end of the film when we learn, through voice-over, that it is an EVIL CORPORATION that has been staffing their base in this manner illicitly. But even with that, I still don't buy it. Too much is at risk. Two clones - maybe. One - never.
What did you think of this review?