A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Moon (2009)

August 18, 2010


Man, this movie must have been fun for Sam Rockwell. He plays Sam Bell, the lone human on a lunar base tasked with maintaining a trio of mostly automated mining machines out on the moon’s surface. As the movie begins he’s nearing the end of his three year contract on the base. His only companion is GERTY, the robot that runs all the automatic functions and takes care of him. So for ninety percent of the movie the only actor on screen is Sam Rockwell.

It starts out being a movie about how Sam has been slowly driven mad by his lonely three year stint. The communication satellite is malfunctioning, so he has no live contact with Earth. He can only communicate with his bosses and loved ones through pre-recorded messages bounced off a satellite near Jupiter. He has his balsa-wood model to keep him occupied, and he has some plants he’s growing (he talks to them.) But it’s pretty clear at the start of the movie that he’s begun to crack.

Then as the movie progresses he begins to uncover some shady dealings by the company that put him up on the moon in the first place. Not everything is as it seems, and perhaps Sam is not as completely alone as he thinks he is.

I’m being deliberately evasive in my review because I don’t want to spoil the story here. It’s so much fun to figure things out as Sam does; to follow his journey as he slowly uncovers the truth of his circumstances. So I’ll leave the plot summary at that and get back to the performance.

I really enjoy Sam Rockwell. He has been in a bunch of my favorite films from the last few years. Frost/Nixon, Galaxy Quest, Hitchhiker’s Guide. He’s a great character actor, and here he really gets to show off his abilities. He’s angry, vulnerable, confused… you totally believe every part of the movie because he does such a great job of selling the emotion of it. It must have been a real challenge, and he had at times to work with some pretty advanced special effects (there are a couple shots that I simply CANNOT figure out) but he never makes it feel like a science fiction film. He’s just this guy trying to deal with a really strange series of revelations.

The other thing I enjoyed about this movie was GERTY. GERTY is sort of the anti-HAL. Both of them act in a slightly counter-intuitive and non-human manner because they are only executing their programming, but GERTY’s primary program is fairly different to that of HAL.

All in all this is a cool, quiet, contemplative and slightly unsettling movie. The music is simple and evocative. The movie just calmly and coolly gets inside your head and makes you think. I enjoy that kind of movie.


August 18, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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