Sundance 2009 Review: Duncan Jones' Moon
by Alex Billington
January 16, 2009
It's very nerveracking having my third film into this festival be the one that I'm most excited to see. What if it's not that great? Will everything else here at Sundance look bleak afterwards? Thankfully that's not how it turned out, as I saw Moon today and thoroughly enjoyed it. My mind is a bit numb from the whole experience, which isn't actually a bad thing, primarily because the plot was so grueling yet engaging anyway. Moon is one of the few sci-fi features showing at Sundance this year and is a very intimate, low budget, yet fascinating film to watch. Not only does it look wonderful, but Sam Rockwell is flawless yet again.
In Moon, Rockwell plays Sam Bell, an astronaut who works alone in a mining facility on the moon. He's contracted for three years of work but as he nears the final few weeks, things start to go awry and he starts to see things. Without spoiling some of the biggest plot elements and not to ruin the experience for others, that's as much as I'll say. Other than Kevin Spacey's voice as the computer, Rockwell is really the only person in the entire film. It wouldn't make sense to say that he stole the show (given there's no one to steal it from), but if it weren't for him, this wouldn't have worked. And I mean that in more ways than one.
First-time writer/director Duncan Jones is not only heavily inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, but delivers a uniquely invigorating sci-fi feature worth seeking out. The production design is exquisite, his style is refreshingly grim for a one-man moon movie, and most of all, his ability to direct Rockwell and bring this compelling story to life is quite impressive (as most will see once the big reveal is made). It's that combination that makes Moon work so well. But at the same time it's still a very small and intimate film that sometimes has problems connecting with its audience beyond its limited scope.
As much as I hate to say it, I think Moon is one of those films that has a niche audience and not much more. If anything I've said has gotten you excited, or even interested at all, then it's certainly a film you must see. It's unfortunate that it feels this way because I'd love for wide scale audiences to be able to appreciate what Duncan Jones has achieved (with indie special effects especially) and what Sam Rockwell is capable of. Moon is by no means a sci-fi epic, but it is gritty, dark, lightly comical, and thoroughly entertaining. It's huge a relief to know that my most anticipated film at Sundance was certainly not a let down.
Sundance Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Reader Feedback - 29 Comments
Judging from multiple reviews, it seems like this will be picked up by a distributor. I pray to God it does, because I am a huge Rockwell fan, and cannot wait to see him in this.
Josh on Jan 16, 2009
Yea, when it was first being talked about on this website i was excited about it and now from this review im still excited about it. I'm definitely going to check it out when I can
Dan W on Jan 16, 2009
Sounds a little like Sunshine without the weird space zombies. Ohh I should get that on Blu-ray. Is there a trailer out for this yet?
Richard on Jan 16, 2009
oh can't wait!
cyn on Jan 16, 2009
I saw some clips of the movie and it does look great. But like you say it's a movie for a niche audience: the film is too slow to be mainstream.
Moon Trailer on Jan 16, 2009
He also happens to be David Bowie' son. So he shouldn't really have difficulty with leeching off the old man to nail some distribution.
Stylist Mick on Jan 16, 2009
"And I mean that in more ways than one." I take it he starts to see another version/s of himself???
OCP on Jan 16, 2009
dont tell me its something liek the truman show........
evilnik on Jan 17, 2009
i'm curious about this but i agree with #8.....no more truman show. and #3.......sunshine looks gorgeous on bluray!
dan on Jan 17, 2009
I greatly enjoy rockell's work.
"Red" - "Button" - "s" on Jan 17, 2009
Cant wait to catch this on the 24th. This is also the film that i was looking forward to the most before the festival. This and 500 days of summer. I cant wait to check this out. Rockwell is amazing and underrated.
Aequitas on Jan 17, 2009
I would love to see this and it sounds great!
s on Jan 17, 2009
*POSSIBLE SPOILER* From the Blade Runner reference, it sounds like he's got these memories of his life on Earth (Family, etc), and that he's looking forward to the end of his contract and his eventual return home... As it approaches, he begins to learn that he's merely an android and that he's replaced every 3 years - the memories are fake... just a thought, I haven't seen it but it sounds like it could be the plot.
Bogart on Jan 18, 2009
Reminds me of Sunshine, but sounds exciting. Wish I was there!
Ryan on Jan 23, 2009
Or he realises the moon he was always on, was actually the fake moon base created by NASA and US GOVT in the nevada desert back in the sixties to fake the moon landing!!!
Bushwitz survivor on Jan 24, 2009
Sounds a little like Sunshine without the weird space zombies.
wood burning fireplaces on Oct 1, 2009
Had a look at the trailer for this movie, one of the previous posts and looks very interesting I like when the robot say you must be imagining things...or something like that...when he discovers his doppelganger
Sports Flooring on Oct 4, 2009
Is there a trailer out for this yet?
Jule Breudo on Oct 16, 2009
Cant wait to catch this on the 24th. Especially about "As it approaches, he begins to learn that he's merely an android
Grooming spaniel on Nov 13, 2009
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Polkase on Mar 1, 2010
I don't know, it just doesn't seem like something I'm going to go pay to watch. So you're probably right in thinking that the audience for it is small, because I'm a pretty versatile person. I enjoy a wide variety of entertainment... but not feeling too drawn to this. blood tests
bizbeegrl on Mar 17, 2010
But at the same time it's still a very small and intimate film that sometimes has problems connecting with its audience beyond its limited scope. To be honest, this movie was awesome. I love it a lot and I ate lots of popcorn while watching. I hope my belly wont be big after eating so much popcorn.
Mike Lose on Apr 14, 2010
I saw some clips of the movie and it does look great. But like you say it's a movie for a niche audience: the film is too slow to be mainstream. Read more: http://www.firstshowing.net/2009/01/16/sundance-2009-review-duncan-jones-moon/#ixzz0nMaLQW30
technology on May 8, 2010
A movie that I haven't seen yet, but I will be renting it this week! I like the targeted audience type of movies which require an open mind. I have a feeling it's going to be one of those great movies which rarely gets talked about... I just have to go rent it now to find out for myself, can't wait. Thanks for the post Dave B burn fat gain muscle
daveb on Jun 26, 2010
I forgot about this movie! I remember when it first came out and was going to download it and watch it on my iPod Touch on a long train ride to sydney - but it slipped my mind. Thanks for the reminder Alex!
Anthony Wakefield on Aug 23, 2010
HI I heard its very nice movie but missed to watch it. but watched clips. its was awesome contour abs --
AndreaK on Nov 1, 2010
The movie sounds interesting - I am not the biggest fan of Sam Rockwell but Duncan Jones has great vision and delivers great movies so I'll definitely watch it. Sam Cris C. Latest Blog Post : Revitol Stretch Mark Cream
revitol girl on Dec 3, 2010
Just watched this movie. It was awesome.
Relationship Advice on Apr 29, 2011
Just watched this movie. It was awesome.
Relationship Advice on Apr 29, 2011
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