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Moon (DVD)

Starring: Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey.

Rated: 15.

Story: Sam Bell is coming to the end of a three year contract supervising an automated mining operation on the moon. He's had no company the whole time apart from a robot which sounds like it was designed by the same team as HAL. Even the satellite is out, so he can't have live conversations with Earth - he has to make do with pre-recorded messages from his wife who is beginning to seem apprehensive about his return.

Unsurprisingly, this isn't exactly turning him into a poster child for mental stability. With only weeks to go, he starts to suspect he's not quite as alone as he thought. This leads to something of an existential crisis. Sadly, he has no one to talk to but himself and a mechanical version of Keyser Soze. Things go quietly downhill in a ponderous, Space Odyssey kind of way...

Comments: Moon is difficult to categorise. It's a science fiction film of a sort which isn't often made these days. There are no lasers, space battles or sweeping alien landscapes. It's one guy on the moon going a bit mad. The space setting is as much about giving an excuse to raise questions of individuality and identity as it is to look cool. This is a pleasant change. That said, it all feels very familiar, aping the spartan whiteness of 2001 and feeling reminiscent of a dozen movies where the crew of a space station/ship/colony get hunted down and eaten. Most of these associations are purposefully invoked in order to set up surprises later in the film but it does mean Moon sometimes lacks individuality of its own, overwhelmed by references and in-jokes.

There's some brilliant cinematography but it's not actually that impressive to look at - it's only brilliant when you think about the effort they must have gone to in order to get some of the shots. Trying to remember this while simultaneously avoiding thinking about the daft plot and the questionable science is tricky.

And yet, despite its flaws, Moon is unquestionably engrossing. Sam Rockwell is fantastic throughout and the pacing of fresh revelations is excellent. It feels likes something is always going on, even though very little actually happens. The story itself might not stand up to a second viewing but I'll probably watch it again at some point anyway, just to pick up on the little details and marvel at the clever camera work.

Conclusion: Good but lacking in identity. (Which is rather ironic...)

Explosions: None.
Space battles: None.
Time-travelling killer robots: None.
Exotic, green alien women: None.
Chesney Hawkes songs: One.

Rating: 4/5.


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