It's almost hard to believe that Sam Rockwell was just a glorified extra (Head Thug in the credits) in 1990's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With young punks eager to join the infamous Foot Clan asking him if he had any cigarettes. Now look at him...
(Silly commercial announcer voice) But wait! There's more!
Dating (Vanity Fair reporter Christine Everhart from Iron Man 1&2) the sexy and talented Leslie Bibb, staring in summer blockbusters as well as indie films, I'm stoked for the moves he makes and the high life he flies in his career. So of course, last year when I heard about this movie (particularly how good Rock was in it) I was excited for the guy. But, due to various commitments and struggles, I quickly became sidetracked and forgot all about the film. It was in limited release at the time anyway, and the shit kicker town I happened to be in, didn't have any of that cool Hollywood Indie stuff around fa miles boy.
But recently, I had been texting ('cuz she's too damn busy to sneeze, let alone gimmie five on the phone) a confidant of mine, fellow actor, and film enthusiast. She had told me of the film, and how amazing it was, so naturally, my ears pricked up. Phone flaky she might be, I trust the bitch to death. Period. So I watched it, and then I smiled, and then I figured I write this thing. So here's my review on Moon.
Duncan Jones might not mean anything to you, but he's the son of notorious America hater and terrific rock star, David Bowie. And after viewing this film, it's safe to say, Duncan is as good a film maker as his father is a musician. He wins, you loose, Rockwell looks awesome once more and Kevin Spacey is funny as always. The premise of Moon is a simple one. 3 year contracts are handed out to helium-3 harvesters. They go to the moon, operate heavy machinery and harvest helium-3. Sam Bell is an employee contracted by the company Lunar Industries to extract helium-3 from lunar soil for much-needed clean energy back on Earth. He left behind his pregnant wife and went to work.
His only company is GERTY, a robotic assistant hard wired into the computer of his home base on the moon, the Sarang (I love you/Love in Korean) complete with a robotic arm and yellow smiley, stoic, confused and frowny faces. GERTY is voiced by a peak of his powers Kevin Spacey. His wit and humor is drier and dead-pan-ier then ever here. When he is not giving you good reasons to smirk, he's making a fine attempt at exercising the tear ducts of your eyes.
Everything is going fine for Sam. He has two weeks left in the base and has carved a replica of his home town to pass the time, among exercise and talking to himself. Slightly weary and physically drained, nothing seems better to the man then getting home, seeing his wife and holding his 3 year old for the first time. During a regular everyday rover excursion out to grab up ready canisters of helium-3 from a harvesting machine, he spots a phantom figure in the distance. Distracted, he crashes the rover into the harvester. Boom son, he wakes up in the infirmary with GERTY at the ready. This is where I'll stop, to avoid spoilers and such.
Rockwell, at times invokes.... Himself. No one else could have given the performance he did in this film (at times I felt some Nick Cage bleeding through). Among other things, the nervous laughter Rockwell commands makes all the difference. These little things add up in Hollywood today. Quirky, witty, scared and sad, this man only wants one thing the whole film: to get the fuck back to earth. With the best line of the film, he gives his opinions out, one being:
"You look like a banana with a yeast infection. "Oh yes, Rockwell was in his prime form and swinging for the fences. Some say he was robbed of an Oscar nod, I'm not a member, but I'll say his shit was air tight in this film. The final third act of this movie is the finest example of Rockwell's ability to balance sad and disturbed, coupled with quiet determination with pitch perfect comedy sauce on top. But I already know this... maaann! Duncan Jones is the one to look out for, coming from commercials Jones knew his way around the CGI of the film and utilized the small budget (a mere 5 mill) to maximize the quality of the CG used. And he wins again. The film, with it's quite tones and similar score, brings us back to 2001 or Alien, as we see the familiar white walls of the space house and corridors. We see the very seamless shots of space, of lunar surfaces, space machines and vehicles, and people in the middle of all this. Where can I sign up for Commercial Director's School?
This film went on to rightfully win Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. Co-written by Jones along with Nathan Parker, the film was tailored as a star vehicle specifically for Rockwell.
A quieter approach to the psychological aspects of seclusion in space, and the power of the human mind over machines, industry, and of course, our very sneaky emotions. Hard science-fiction, is a rare these days, or maybe, rare in well filmed form lets say. This film is a little more then just well filmed; so it get's 3.5 outa 4 'Nanas.