Sunday, 10 January 2010

Review - Moon

In a nutshell:- Low budget indie sci-fi with an old-school feel.

The Basics:- Moon is one of those films that it feels like you're spoiling if you talk about it too much so I'll just give the starting premise - Sam (Sam Rockwell) works for Lunar technologies on their helium-3 processing moonbase and is nearing the end of his three year contract. And then he has an accident... It's a low-budget, independent sci-fi film and definitely an antidote to a lot of the big screen slam-bang sci-fi that's out there at the moment.

The Good:- For a first time director, it's an amazingly confident film. It's intelligent and doesn't patronise its audience while at the same time remaining accessible. There's a feel of old school 1970s sci fi about it in the best possible sense from the overall set design to the use of good old fashioned practical model work instead of CGI*. It's also very much a one man show with a great performance from Sam Rockwell who I've not really seen in much before apart from the disappointing Hitch Hikers film but, based on this, I'd be interested to see him in some other roles. There's also a nice turn from Kevin Spacey as the voice of Gerty, the moonbase computer who initially appears to bear some similarities to 2001's HAL... It's a slow-paced affair but that allows the story to unfold at a natural rate and allows the viewer
time to identify with Sam and care about his predicament.

The Bad:- I think if you start to analyse the plot and set-up a little too much, you can begin to find a few holes in it or, if not holes as such, such slightly questionable logic and motivation i.e. why would they use a man with documented emotional problems in such a high pressure environment? But really, these are minor niggles that in now way spoil your enjoyment of the film.

The Verdict:- It feels like a throwback to sci fi filmmaking of old and, in my book, that's no bad thing. With films like this and District 9, it feels like we're getting a bit of a renaissance for high quality, smart and interesting sci fi films and I for one am looking forward to that trend continuing.

* I've always been a fan of model work over CGI. That's not to say there aren't some amazing things that can be done with CGI but bad CGI always seems that much more atrocious and cheaper than slightly wonky model work.

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