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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Title: Moon
  • Directed by: Duncan Jones
  • Written By: Nathan Parker
  • Starring: Sam Rockwell
  • Also Featuring: Kevin Spacey (voice)
  • Produced by: Stuart Fenegan, Trudie Styler
  • Release Date (limited): June 12, 2009
  • Series:

MOON

Sam Rockwell shines in Duncan Jones' directorial debut

By Leslie Morgan     June 11, 2009
Source: Mania

A throw back to such classic sci-fi films as Blade Runner, Silent Running and Outland, Moon is the directorial debut for Duncan Jones. Co-written by Jones and Nathan Parker, the film examines the solitary journey of astronaut Sam Bell, played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell, as he is finishing out a three -year contract on the moon for a large energy corporation.

The film opening is that of an advertisement for Lunar Industries, which claims to be the number one provider of clean energy. The opening sequence seemed to be a tribute of sorts to Jones’ many years working in the ad world as a very successful commercial director. The film then delves into the world of the Moon inhabited by numerous machines including a friendly robot named Gerty who not so coincidentally reminds the audience of Hal in 2001 Space Odyssey. Gerty, voiced by Kevin Spacey, is Sam’s only companion inside the confines of the ship in which he resides.

At the beginning of the film, we find Sam almost at the end of his three-year contract, eager to go home to his wife and three year old little girl with whom he has only seen in video taped messages sent to him periodically. However, as the days back to earth draw near, Sam’s health begins to deteriorate and this is where the story takes an interesting twist. What we come to find out is that Sam is actually not the only person on his ship after all as writer/ director Jones explores themes of humanity, identity and morality.

Sam Rockwell, best known for his roles in such independent films as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Assassination of Jesse James and Choke, is once again captivating in the title role of Sam Bell. The role seemed to be made for the actor, and in fact was; Jones wrote the role specifically with Rockwell in mind. Rockwell plays Sam with great humor, his comedic timing is sharp, and vulnerability, which brings a lot of depth to the character of Bell. Rockwell’s performance certainly made me question why this talented actor isn’t working more and Jones should also be commended for creating a role that allows Rockwell to truly shine.

Filmed entirely at Shepperton Studios in London, the film was shot in thirty-three days on a budget of only five million dollars, and though clearly money was saved on cast, the film certainly looks far more expensive than it’s budget alludes. The shots of the moon, the base and the machinery all look incredible, and the special effects, which were mostly miniatures, were constructed with marvelous detail. Along with a score that will stay in your head long after the movie is over by composer Clint Mansell who also composed music for Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler, The Moon is a shining example to big studio Hollywood that you don’t need an inflated $100 million budget to make something look good. Jones certainly should have a brilliant and long career ahead of him, as long as Sony Classics does a bang up job promoting the limited release of this science fiction gem.

Check out Moon when it opens in theaters June 12th.

MOON from director Duncan Jones (2009)

Sam Rockwell is Sam Bell in Duncan Jones' MOON

Sam Rockwell is Sam Bell in Duncan Jones' MOON

Sam Rockwell is Sam Bell in Duncan Jones' MOON

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Cacaoatl 6/11/2009 4:48:51 AM

Umm, kinda ignored a recent Sam Rockwell credit didn't you? Or were not paying attention when the feature film version of The Hitcchiker's Guide to the Galaxy came out?

Cacaoatl 6/11/2009 4:50:21 AM

I more people know Sam Rockwell from his portrayal of Zaphod Beeblebrox than the indie films you mentioned.

Redshirt1 6/11/2009 5:37:13 AM

I've noticed a pattern on this site, it seems as if movies can only ever achieve a maximum of B .  In your review you do not state a single negative thing about this movie, the director or actor.  You in fact speak highly of all three and claim that it is essentially as good as any $100 million movie.  Therefore, what specifically made this movie not get an A- to an A for its grade?

Redshirt1 6/11/2009 5:38:50 AM

P.P.S.

Sorry I indicated a maximum of B when I in fact ment a B when rating movies. 

Redshirt1 6/11/2009 5:40:33 AM

Ok now I know it was not my fault for some reason the site seems to be not noticing my plus symbol.  Strange!

robbo 6/11/2009 5:48:32 AM

Actually, the editor (me) made an error when entering the review into the system. Leslie meant for it to get an A-. The page above should reflect that shortly.

ddiaz28 6/11/2009 6:27:10 AM

I'm really looking forward to seeing this.  There is a decent little clip on Dave's Trailer Page here ...

www.davestrailerpage.co.uk/

EagleManiac 6/11/2009 6:54:37 AM

I went to the site 'www.moon-movie.com' and it was all about this "consipracy theory" that we never HAVE been to the moon and that the Apollo missions were a hoax. Give me a break, people! How many times is this going to come up? How many people out there really believe that we DIDN'T go to the moon? If you believe that, I have some beach front property to sell DIRT CHEAP in Oklahoma!

See, there was this "little" movie that came out in the late '70's called 'Capricorn One'. It's a really entertaining movie about NASA's first manned Mars mission, when something goes wrong before the launch, and they have to "stage" the whole thing for the press and public or they will lose funding. All-in-all, it was fun to watch, but that movie has perpetuated this idea of the moon landings being a myth. I guess there are those who just have to try and dsipute EVERYTHING they see. Sheesh. I for one and am avid believer in the Apollo missions and in our(NASA's)drive to go BACK to the moon and beyond!

fft5305 6/11/2009 7:18:34 AM

Let's not forget Sam's work in Charlie's Angels, Matchstick Men and The Green Mile. Not to mention Galaxy Quest. According to IMDb, he was in Frost/Nixon, too. I didn't see that, but it did garner a little attention, not to mention a few (5) Oscar noms. Then, there's this quirky little independent movie coming up called... umm... Iron Man 2?  Something like that?  So it's not like he's been toiling in obscurity.  He's got a few credits to his name.  He's not a household name like Clooney or Pitt, but he's out there.

fft5305 6/11/2009 7:20:18 AM

Oh, and I'm sure redshirt will agree with me that we really need our Edit button back on our comments!!

And for whatever reason, the plus sign won't show up in comments. Odd...

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