Must-See Movie Review: 'Moon' (2009)

When you know that you are about to watch a science fiction film specific themes come to mind. A massive effects-laden adventure with cold set design and even more detached costuming. The world "Moon" creates can often feel so foreign that you do not realize until it is over, you were never really invested in the first place.

There is nothing tangible from our world to hold onto that connects us to the imagery in those films. "Moon" is a sci-fi movie that completely breaks the mold and defies any genre specificity, instead of creating a human, character-driven drama that so happens to be told in space.

‘Moon’ tells the story of Astronaut Sam Bell as he enters the final stretch of his mission on the moon when something inevitably threatens his trip home. The classic scenario for any police drama is crafted into something highly organic.

This is a deftly directed and written film by Duncan Jones ("Source Code") who made his feature-length debut with this film. He demonstrates a depth in filmmaking that is as limitless as the galaxy he depicts. He has set up a film that is pretty much a one-man play, without leaving you with the feelings of claustrophobia.

Instead, achieving such an entrancement with what is happening on-screen that the confines of its setting all but disappear. The pacing is the perfect discipline of lead-up, action and result. Leaving viewers readily connected to the universe presented in the film while also providing footholds to our current one.

Jones would have been hard-pressed to have pulled this film off without the superb skill of Sam Rockwell, one of the finest, and most underappreciated actors currently working. This performance had Oscar written all over it. Rockwell's is a fresh and enduring characterization. He creates something completely organic here.

There is an intrinsic fascination that Rockwell always brings to a role, and it has never been given a better opportunity or platform to shine than in this film. He weaves through so many levels of emotion, his performance takes on a quicksand quality pulling you further into his character’s predicament.

As the movie opens we are introduced to the calm and laid back character of Bell, and as Rockwell unwinds this film, he proves that he is more than the “fun” guy in movies; he is a dramatic actor at its best. He pulls off the next to impossible with a pretty much one-man performance. There are few and far between with the ability to do that. Rockwell has proven that he is in that league.

Special mention should also go to Kevin Spacey who voices the robot that interacts with Rockwell. Spacey can bring flair to the reading of a phonebook as evidenced with his voice work here.

While some might make comparisons to similar genre fare, "Moon" sets itself apart with something rarely seen in futuristically set movies, high emotion. The emotion that is seen is not perpetuated due to a newly discovered missing “mind” chip.

It is only because in the canon of "Moon," people are still people, only they’re in the future. The issues this film addresses are thought-provoking and enlightening. The essential plot that takes place within the confines of this film isn’t happening in some post-modern future, it is happening right now.

As hard to believe as it is, "Moon" is not addressing a far-off notion. Take careful consideration, and it is rather blatant. The allegory this film uses to present this message has never been so wrenching to behold and by extension more alive. "Moon" is a must-see movie. Rating: 9.5/10