I reference sex and and its various discharges on regular intervals -probably to the point that it becomes a cliche by itself. Well it’s never been more applicable than with Moon: I came. Buckets. Gallons, tons, oodles, litres, and whatever measurement you can think of. It’s all groovy here, since Moon is the best purebred science fiction film I’ve ever seen. …and I’ve seen damn near all of them.
(In this case, ‘purebred’ is interchangeable with ‘hard sci fi;’ think semi-realism as opposed to Star Wars‘ bullshit-in-space.)
Where Moon succeeds above and beyond its genre counterparts is Sam Rockwell. I fully realize it was only last night that I was naming Rockwell as a terrible lead actor and a good reason Choke was a failure. Well, I don’t have any excuses for why that performance was dreadful, because I’ve rarely been witness to a finer exhibition of pure talent. As a so-called ‘slow sci fi’ movie, Moon is all about Rockwell and his relation with the actor opposite him. ….which in this case is also Sam Rockwell. For purposes of being a gentleman, consider the following to contain mild-to-serious spoilers. I don’t want to be too much of a dick after all.
The first thirty minutes or so of Moon had me constantly saying out loud (yes, I do talk to myself) “what the fuuuuuuck is going on?! I don’t know, but I like it!” and other such exclamations of bewildered delight. Sure, I rolled my eyes the first time Rockwell’s robotic sidekick GERTY sauntered into frame; what sci fi flick doesn’t have the artificial intelligence through which the lone astronaut might retain his sanity? Where Moon kicks cliches to the hooker-infested gutter is with GERTY’s integration and execution. At first appearance, the robot is foreshadowed to be a malicious gatekeeper, working for ‘the man’ (or in this case Lunar Industries); however, through some fairly-rigid-though-genuine exposition, GERTY takes the shape of a realistic and autonomous entity capable of emotion and authentic decision making. Fucking awesome!
Following the first half hour comes the big reveal: clones. Rockwell’s character is in fact an indentured clone with the shelf life of about three years, during which he’s under the impression that he is fulfilling an equal-length contract and afterwards he can return home to his baby girl and smoking hot wife. My only real qualm with Moon lies with this narrative device, and I’ll explain why:
Why is it, in certain genre films, that characters never acknowledge what is actually happening? For example, in zombie flicks people never say “oh fuck, these reanimated, shambling corpses with a particular attraction to my flesh are fucking zombies! I know exactly what to do! We shoot them in the head, and if ANYONE AT ALL is bitten, we kill that person right away -or else at least one other survivor will definitely get eaten.” That never happens, and every goddamn time it’s more frustrating than inopportune erectile dysfunction. With Moon, it’s explicit that Sam 1 (the first on-screen clone) is dying because his three years are up; the clones are undoubtedly only meant to last a certain amount of time, yet no one ever figures it out. For fuck’s sake, IT’S MORE OBVIOUS THAN CHRISTY CARLSON’S FAKE BOOBS. Use your goddamn head!
But for the most part, Moon is great because it’s about scene-to-scene unexpectedness of the character’s intelligence and general feeling of unease. The confines are limited, for all intents there’s only one character, and dialogue isn’t precisely abundant. But everything is honed to the perfect balance between dramatic flair and intrigue; with a handful of minuscule exceptions, there isn’t a wasted second here. Everything is interesting, everything serves a purpose, and all of it is a true pleasure to watch. Even better, there’s a good hour or more of special features on the DVD, so it’s a real plus for anyone interested in the cloning effect.
It’s not edge-of-your-seat by any means, and after a little while there won’t be any dramatic twists or plot reversals. All the same, Moon is easily the best film I’ve seen in ages and I can’t recommend it enough -even for people who don’t like science fiction. After all, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the characters. So yeah, fuck you Lucas.
Conclusion: Four squeaky-clean double-sided purple dildos of perfection