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Moon (film, not our satellite)

Moon is a unique film. Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut working for a lunar mining company. He’s been living in isolation on the dark side of the moon for almost three years with only an A.I. program called GERTY for company. He’s nearing the end of his stint on the moon, but things hit a snag when a clone of himself shows up. Director Duncan Jones does amazing things with an actor playing two versions of the same character and a robot voiced by Kevin Spacey. It’s a down-to-earth sci-fi character study set on the moon. And it works somehow.

Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is living on the moon, working for the Lunar Industry corporation. He spends his days mining Helium-3, Earth’s main energy source. He’s alone, except for GERTY, his helpful A.I. program and taped messages from his wife Tess, who is eagerly awaiting his return back on Earth with their baby daughter, Eve. Sam starts suffering from headaches and starts blacking out and accidently crashes his lunar vehicle.

He wakes up back in his lunar base and overhears GERTY having a live conversation with Lunar Industries execs trying to keep him from going outside. And so he goes outside, and comes across the site where he crashed the lunar vehicle. He starts exploring the scene and finds someone inside the vehicle. He brings him back to base, and it turns out to be Sam Bell.

The Sam Bell that was rescued from the crash site is the original Sam Bell that we first met when the movie started, the Sick Sam. The Sick Sam thinks that the New Sam is a clone. The New Sam thinks that the Sick Sam is the clone. The New Sam is more aggressive, while the Sick Same is more passive and mellow. They try to come to grips with the situation by fighting and playing Ping-Pong. New Sam suspects that maybe they are both clones and GERTY confirms the fact.

The two Sam clones start to work together to uncover the truth behind their existence. The movie explores how you would act if you found out that your life is a lie, that your memories aren’t yours… it’s like the Truman Show meets Total Recall, but without any action and hardly any jokes. That’s a warning: there’s no action and it’s not a comedy. It’s very talky. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means that a lot of stupid people won’t like it.

Apart from glimpses of Tess and his daughter Eve and the shady Lunar Industries execs on the lunar monitors, the only human characters are both played by Sam Rockwell. It’s a real treat to see a great actor playing two different version of the same character simultaneously on screen. They bicker and fight and try to make small talk with each other. It’s as real as it gets for being such an absurd concept. GERTY is kind of a combination of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Wilson from Cast Away. He’s just an object that Sam interacts with to avoid going crazy from the lack of human contact.

This is a science fiction movie that doesn’t rely on explosions to tell a story. So a lot of people won’t like it. But it’s a unique concept and they are able to humanize it and make it relatable. Props to Duncan Jones and especially to Sam Rockwell for his amazing dual performance as Sam Bell.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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