Moon (2009)

★ ★ 1/2

Moon is the type of independent film that I should like. It is philosophical, resourceful, and well acted. Yet, there was something missing. It never quite reached the heights--or the depths--that it ought to have. It didn't add anything to a genre that has already been explored by great directors such as Tarkovsky and Kubrick.

As far as directorial debuts go, Moon was impressive. Duncan Jones did well to avoid the campiness of his father's space themed movies. However, the fact that it was an impressive debut, and that it was better than David Bowie movies, only gets Moon so far. Sam Rockwell has been heavily praised for his performance, though he never quite captured the solitude of his situation. It was kind of like watching a man furrowing his brows at his mothers funeral. Under some circumstances, that gesture would indicate an appropriate level of frustration. In this situation, it just isn't enough. Rockwell's performance was mopey, not sad. Kevin Spacey, as Moon's version of HAL 9000 was as detached as one might expect from a robot, though too much so for one that has allegedly attained consciousness. GERTY never displayed the malice, or the reticence of HAL 9000. In short, he was dull.

As far as the storyline goes, it is interesting. Given the subject matter, I would have expected it to be intriguing. The theme of cloning is one that has yet to be exhausted, and holds deep philosophical implications. Which Sam is the original? Does it matter? The first question wasn't adequately exploited, and the second was barely broached. In the end, the story fizzled out. Unable to properly explore the moral implications of the situation, they filled the vacuum with political nonsense. My advise is to watch the film, but ignore the hype. The film's greatest curse is the unreasonable expectations created by critics, rather than its modest budget.