Science-fiction films are usually big-budget blockbusters more concerned with special effects than with character, but MOON goes the indie route, using a five-million-dollar budget to create a thought-provoking film. First-time feature director Duncan Jones wrote the part of Sam Bell, a miner living in isolation on the moon, with CHOKE's Sam Rockwell in mind, and it's perfect casting. MOON begins when Sam's three-year contract with Lunar Industries is almost up, and it isn't soon enough for the isolated man. Communication is down, and he is only able to send and receive prerecorded messages home, so he has had no real-time contact with his wife and daughter. An accident in a lunar rover leaves Sam stranded, but he wakes up back in the station, where he encounters someone who looks exactly like him, just a little younger. With the help of the base's robot, Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey), Sam tries to uncover what lies beneath the gleaming surface of the base.
Production designer Tony Noble has created a cold, utilitarian set for MOON, reminiscent of sci-fi classics such as 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and ALIEN. The minimalist surroundings and small number of special effects allow Rockwell's strong performance to shine in what is essentially a one-man film. There are very few shots without Rockwell's presence, and he is adept at communicating the Sams' variety of emotions. Rockwell is undeniably the center of the film, but Jones has made a stylish debut that promises an impressive filmography in the future.
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