Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey (voice), Matt Berry, Robin Chalk, Dominique McElligott, Kaya Scodelario, Malcolm Stewart, Benedict Wong
Written by: Nathan Parker, based on a story by Duncan Jones
Directed by: Duncan Jones
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 97
Date: 01/23/2009

Moon (2009)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Crater Good

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The opposite of Battle for Terra, Moon is a science fiction movie based on actual ideas. Sam Rockwell stars as Sam Bell, who is working a three-year shift all by himself on the moon, supervising a new kind of energy mining; giant tractors scoop up powerful gasses, which he then collects and ships back to earth in tiny rockets.

His only companion is a robot called GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey). Communications are down so he occasionally receives pre-recorded messages from his wife and daughter. His shift is nearly up and he's going a bit stir crazy. Distracted, he crashes his moon rover and wakes up later, a bit disoriented, in Sick Bay. He has orders not to go outside, and for good reason. I'll say no more, because what Sam finds outside is truly a mind-trip, bringing into question everything Sam knows.

Director Duncan Jones never steps wrong in his use of space and sterile, technological sets (sometimes slightly covered in grime from too much repetitive human contact). I'll admit that Moon sometimes gets a little disturbing and pushes viewers away as often as it tantalizes us and draws us further in. This keeps it from being a great sci-fi picture, but it's a minor quibble; Moon is still really, really good, and it had me most of the way. (Viewed at the San Francisco International Film Festival.)

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