Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Moon (2009) - Duncan Jones

Duncan Jones has a famous daddy, let's try and do what everyone else fails to, and not mention it shall we? Right now that's out of the way, let's get on with singing the praises of this little marvel. This is only the second time I've seen it, but it was just as good this time round as it was the first. Originally I had reservations about bothering with it at all. It sounded a bit naff, and was talked up just a wee bit too much for my liking. So I passed on it at the cinema. After all the majority of science fiction films are a huge let down nowadays anyway. All style, no substance I normally find. More fool me however, since this is both stylish, and quite substantial (well for a modern multiplex film anyway), and would have made for a decent cinema experience. Ho hum.

Essentially it is a one man show, and that man is Sam Rockwell, proving that his turn in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, wasn't just a one off. Here he plays a regular Joe spaceman called Sam Bell, who is coming to the end of his three year isolated stint working on the Moon, and is looking forward to heading back home to his wife and daughter. I don't want to say much about the plot since it would be very easy to spoil what is actually a decent little story. Safe to say that this owes more to Silent Running and 2001: A Space Odyssey, than Sunshine or the recent Star Trek reboot. It doesn't quite live up to it's peers though. Too much of the film is familiar from other entries in this genre. Long white hexagonal corridors, a computer that talks and has a personality, space workers that owe more to truckers than astronauts, it's a bit of an amalgam of various sci fi clichés. Which is a shame since it is a good little film. I'm always fascinated to see what bits of our film culture make it past the fifteen year barrier and are embraced by the next generation of film addicts. Will this be remembered? I hope so, but I also doubt it, since it lacks that something to set it apart from everything else.

Duncan Jones' direction is very confident and resists the urge to show off in the way that most new directors do. He also opts for a fair bit of model work instead of going the usual CGI route, which is one of the things that endears this film to me. Although having said that, there is the obligatory CGI lens flare that is in every single bloody effects laden epic nowadays. In fact here's an idea for a new drinking game. Take one bottle of vodka, pop any big summer CGI fest film from the past year or two in the DVD player, take a shot every time there is some lens flare on the screen. I'll warn you now wear some big man nappies if you are going to watch the aforementioned Star Trek, since by forty minutes in you'll be reduced to a baby that needs changing.

Anyway I'm drifting. If you haven't seen this then please do, it is thought provoking, but maybe not quite as clever as it thinks it is. Solaris or 2001 it ain't. However any film that can play Chesney Hawkes' The One and Only, not once but twice, and have me wanting to watch it again has to be worth a punt.

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