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on October 17, 2016
Duncan Jones has a bright future in filmmaking. Starting out unsure of what he wanted to do in life, he ultimately decided to make a film (Thankfully for us.) His passion and enthusiasm for his craft is one thing that makes all of his feature films thus far so enjoyable to even a casual viewer. His love for pop culture and original source material delights both fans and newcomers to pre-existing properties (such as Warcraft) or he delights those that are fans and newcomers to a particular genre, such as this first masterpiece of his: Moon. For Jones, he is definitely carving his own path separate from the legacy of his father, the late David Bowie, and his own path is one worth following as this reviewer has discovered. Jones' first feature film is both ambitious and simple. With a cast mostly consisting of one person in the wonderfully charismatic (and underused) Sam Rockwell, Moon entertains, enthralls, and delivers its story, concept, and world in one of the best original science-fiction films of the last two decades. For those that are fans of action, this may not be the film for you, as it is a more personal and thoughtful look at some of the moralities and sci-fi concepts with a strong focus on what isolation can do to one person. The movie celebrates the gift of human interaction and yet also shows the value and the downside of isolation. The acting and effects are so well done. Without spoiling anything, there is an effect in the film that the concept relies on. Simple to create but hard to sell as an actor, and it is done so well I never once doubted the authenticity of the effects. For such a low budget film and production it outshines and outdoes many of the big budget productions and establishes a new director and creator to film audiences around the world. This is an excellently made and written film which showcases the talent of someone like Sam Rockwell as an actor, but also that of Duncan Jones, the creator and director, and his crew. While some may find the film slow, I never grew tired of it, and upon multiple viewings, I like the film more each and every time. I strongly recommend picking up the film. Specifically any version that would come with special features, such as a commentary or making of, since its a very fresh seeming concept in a time where everyone is growing tired of sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, re-quels, and retreads. This film (and his others) have made me a steadfast and very much intrigued Duncan Jones fan. I sincerely hope he continues to get the chance to make films as original and with as much creative control as this film. Any science fiction fan or indie film fan should pick this one up, or rent it. Its a solid investment that I do not regret having added Moon to my film collection. And please, Duncan Jones, please keep making movies. (Grade: A+)
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on January 30, 2017
Moon is a peculiar film that I’m frankly surprised anyone got greenlit. It’s basically a one character, one set drama. It is a character-driven piece that is quiet, brooding and thoughtful. It reminds me a bit of “Gattaca”. Like Gattaca, the science fiction elements are used simply to create the logic framework for the character and emotional dynamics. While these dynamics couldn’t really be developed without the scifi logic behind it, the emotions and pathos are universal and existential.

I don’t wish to spoil the film, so I have to keep the plot summary simple: a lonely man is in the last two-weeks of his 3 year solo tenure monitoring an automated mining operation on the moon. His only companion is a HAL-esque robot of vaguely sinister aspect. Due to communication failures, he has been cut off from any real-time communication for most of his tenure, and he is on the edge of sanity. Then a terrible accident occurs.

This film stars Sam Rockwell, a fine actor, with an affect thirty-three degrees off the mainline. Whenever I see him in a film, I have to go through a quick mental adjustment to accept his affect, before I settle in to enjoying his wonderful naturalistic, yet skewed style. In this film, he plays across the gamut of human emotions in a brilliant symphony of shifts – some discordant, but all fitting within the overall orchestration. I simultaneously felt pity, anger, disdain and disgust with his character.

After the middle of the film, Moon doesn’t try to hide its secret, but at that point it doesn’t matter. By the mid-point of the film, I cared more about how Sam’s character navigated and triumphed against the threats than the machinations behind them (which are a little trite, falling back on the much told ‘evil corporation’ meme).

The film is a wonderfully satisfying emotional experience, which had me in tears at the end. It is both sad and limned in warmth, like chocolate with chili peppers.

I loved it (warning…it is a bit slow to start).
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 7, 2016
"The power of the moon. The power of our future." - Sam Bell

Four DESOLATE Stars. In the SciFi film "Moon": Sam Bell is alone on the dark side of the moon mining Helium 3 for Lunar Industries, which has become essential for Earth's utilities use. Nearing the end of his 3-year solo tour with only an 'AI' robot, Gerty, for company, he can't wait to see his wife and kid, but things are beginning to take a strange turn on the station. Starring Sam Rockwell, Dominique McElligot, Kaya Scodelario, Benedict Wong, Matt Berry, and Kevin Spacey as GERTY. Directed by Duncan Jones. Very Definitely Recommended. Four ISOLATED Stars. (Sony Pictures Classics. Liberty Films. Independent pictures. Rated R. Color. HD. CC. X-Ray. Time-1:37:09.)
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on December 25, 2016
While space conspiracies have been done to death, Moon stands out as the most heartbreaking. Rarely has a science-fiction film made issues such as isolation and the notion of self so affecting.
That Moon treats these issues with respect and that it does so with heart and humour makes astronaut Sam Bell's story all the more tragic.
Earth scientists have discovered Helium-3, a clean-form of minable energy on the moon. Following the tradition of suspect corporations in sci-fi films, Lunar Industries sends astronauts to operate the mining equipment. Bell, played by Sam Rockwell, is at the end of his three year journey. Struggling with loneliness and betrayal, Bell's physical and mental deterioration is immediately noticeable, and gradually becomes poignant.
While obvious influences include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien and Blade Runner, Moon diverges from the genre by focusing on the purely human element of space exploration. In a way its closest relative is Gattaca, delivering a pseudo-scientific approach to understanding humanity in a truly cinematic experience. Whilst director and co-writer Duncan Jones includes elements of sci-fi, and enough suspense and mystery to establish an intriguing storyline, the film draws its strength from Rockwell's hugely empathetic and surprisingly humorous Bell. Played by anyone else, Bell could easily be overly-pitiful. Rockwell succeeds in making him likable enough to warrant our affections, making his ultimate, and potentially clichéd, line, "I just want to go home", heartbreaking. Nevertheless the films strength, a focus on character over large scale special effects, could be its commercial weakness. Standard fans of sci-fi might be disappointed by the use of models and limited effects, although they have been used convincingly. Instead the movie is aimed at art-house patrons, and will hopefully garner a cult following. A character piece, Moon remains a sweet and much needed deviation from the genre.
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on January 20, 2018
I have now watched this probably four times, and should probably buy it already rather than rent it since I continually push it on others to make sure they've seen it (and rent it to do so).

This movie is touching, thought provoking, incredibly well acted by Sam Rockwell, and well directed.

Along with Interstellar, this is one of only a handful of movies that can make me, a grown man, cry.

This movie is one of my top five favorites of all time, and made Sam Rockwell one of my favorite actors.
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** NO SPOILERS ** Loved this movie. I think this is actually one of Rockwell's best performances, especially as he is the only actor... (unless one counts Kevin Spacey's HAL-9000-like role as the moon base's AI voice). I've seen this one probably 5 or 6 times, and frankly the acting AND the music draw me back in every time. I won't give away any of the twists, but it is very much a psychological sci-fi thriller worth the price of admission, and more than once. This role, I would argue, should have been considered as an Academy Award Lead Actor contender (if you put any stock in the Oscars themselves - but you understand my comparison...).
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on March 24, 2017
"Moon" is your cup of tea if you like understated science fiction films. Examples of 'understated' science fiction would be Gattaca, Solyent Green, Primer, and perhaps Ridley Scott's "Alien." An 'overstated' science fiction film would be pretty much any Star Wars incarnation, or something from the Roland Emmerich/Michael Bay school of "blow their minds and their eardrums" film making. That Moon lightly borrows from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 is no revelation (is there such a thing as "isolation horror"?), but the similarities are different enough that one cannot rightly say Moon is a copycat. If you enjoyed any of the films I mentioned above, you'll enjoy Moon. If your brand of science fiction film is less story-based and hinges more toward (overly) simplistic dialogue, the latest cutting edge special effects, etc. then Moon isn't for you.

That's not to say the special effects in Moon are no good. They're fantastic, actually. The reason I think they worked well is because as an Apollo junkie, I have poured over nearly every surface photograph from project Apollo I have been able to get my hands on since the 1980s. Specifically I felt Moon looked a lot like the vistas you would see from Apollo 16 - distant mountains (not up close like Mons Hadley from Apollo 15, or Taurus-Littrow's mountain valley from Apollo 17), with wide plains, which is precisely the type of landscape explored by Apollo 16 in 1972. The mountains in the background look a lot like the Apollo surface photographs. Two minor quibbles with Moon's lunarscapes - the movie is supposed to take place on the lunar far side, which never faces earth. The corollary to this is that while on the lunar far side, it is impossible to see the earth in the sky. Several outside shots, while beautiful, show the earth in the sky. I recognize this is for effect, but in the end, it's an inaccuracy that could have been avoided. Secondly, the shots of the lunar rovers and harvesters are impressive, but you'll notice small lunar dust clouds rising up and billowing near the wheels. Dust would only billow like that if there was an atmosphere. On the moon, dust indeed gets kicked up, but its trajectory is much more linear. If you carefully watch the 16mm film footage of John Young driving the LRV, you'll see what I mean, and to a less obvious extent, the rover TV footage of the Apollo astronauts' feet as they kick up dust - no billowing/lingering of dust whatsoever (I recommend the closeups of Cernan & Schmitt discovering orange soil from Apollo 17 - the dust their feet kick up is in the right light to see what I'm describing). Since these shots are most likely CG, this could have been avoided. Or perhaps it was left that way to allow the viewer to relate to it on a more fundamental level. Regardless, I'm probably one of maybe ten people in the entire world who noticed this, so don't let it ruin the film for you. I thought I would point it out because science fiction viewers typically have an edge and a keen eye on what they're shown (don't get me going on Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" - what a science mess that film was!), so film producers sometimes take liberties, and while some are taken with Moon, they're nominal at the most. This film is about STORY.

There are a few things that raised some questions. First, if Lunar Industries is going to clone Sam every three years, why implant in him memories of home at all? Instead, they could have implanted in him the basic premise that being a clone working on the moon is a perfectly normal thing for a sentient and self-aware entity, with no memory of earth life whatsoever. That would have greatly diminished the risk of escape. He would have never known the difference if they had never showed to him. Or, if memories are some sort of biological need, perhaps why not implant memories that recall a life not worth yearning over? We can theorize about this (maybe the only thing they had to work with were the memories Sam came with initially), but ultimately theories are useless unless they can be explained within the film. This left me vexed.

Perhaps I missed it, but I can't recall the source for Sam's illness - was it the crash with the harvester? If so, why would he suffer beyond external injuries, to the point of spewing up blood and coughing out whole teeth? I understand the eye and hand injuries he sustained, but how his external injuries spread into something internal (pathogenic) to me remains unanswered. Or was his deterioration part of an automatic, internal self-destructive expiration, like the replicants from the movie Blade Runner? Maybe I missed the explanation of that.

Why did Lunar Industries even bother with radio jammers on the surface of the moon? Couldn't one take care of that issue with software at the base? Or, since the base is on the far side and so there's no direct line of sight to earth (see above), they could just shut off the communication relay satellite, or block outgoing transmission at that point. That aspect seemed to make me wonder too.

Anyway, aside from these questions, you'll feel like you're there with Sam. You'll wonder what Gerty is up to and if he's being truthful, and in the end, you'll wonder "which Sam" you've been viewing the whole time. And don't underestimate Clint Mansell's wonderful musical score. All of this compounds into the kind of sci-fi worth watching. I'd rather take the things I questioned above (again, maybe they were explained/resolved, but I missed it if they were), then I would a sci-fi extravaganza with horrible characters and terrible writing. This film is understated and beautiful.
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on January 27, 2018
Wow. This movie was really thought-provoking and engaging. Sam Rockwell is a talented actor, and this film showcases his acting ability. You'll see why when you watch it. I don't want to give anything away, but it reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Martian. I'm sure it echoes other sci-fi films as well. Anyway, I'm glad I watched this movie, and anyone who appreciates science fiction, good acting, and a solid plot and cinematography will like it.
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VINE VOICEon July 15, 2015
Incredible bit of scifi, and it WILL be something to think about in the near future as cloning of humans continues and is abused. If you don't think it will happen, then you are sadly wrong and not thinking.

Sam Rockwell does a fantastic job with this role, and is to be commended. If you don't shed a tear as Clone #1 sits dying, and alone, in his vehicle after discovering some issues with his "family", then you have a heart of Satan.

I don't know why I waited so long to see this movie. I suppose I'm not usually a fan of single actor driven movies (Even Castaway was contrived, and boring to me), but this one is absolutely fantastic and will keep you thinking, if you will actually do so. It's not just entertainment, it's "reality to come".
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on February 14, 2015
This is one of the best films I've ever seen. It's so good that I was stunned the first time I watched it.

The plot is great, Sam Rockwell is absolutely stellar (as usual), and the surprise/twist is superb.

One of the coolest things about this film is that there's very little action, very little dialogue (mostly just Sam Rockwell and a computer voiced by Kevin Spacey) but nearly every minute is gripping and compelling.

If you like sci-fi you will love this. If you don't, you'll still probably like it a hell of a lot.

The only person I wouldn't recommend this to is someone who requires a ton of action, gun play, explosions, and sex to like a movie. If that's you, avoid this movie (and anything else I give 5 stars to). Otherwise, watch it and try not to think about that fact that you only get to watch it for the first time once.
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