A year ago I would not have guessed that no less than four science-fiction films would make their way onto my top ten list for 2009.  With District 9, Avatar, and Star Trek making oodles of cash (and all three performing well beyond expectations), “Moon” arrived to showcase sci-fi in its most classic and thought-provoking form.

Written and directed by newcomer Duncan Jones, the story takes place at some near point in the future.  Sam Rockwell (who should be earning a Best Actor nomination for his multi-layered, one-man endeavor of a performance) plays Sam Bell, an astronaut under a 3-year contract for Lunar Industries as a lone worker harvesting helium-3, the dominant fuel source for Earth.  Trapped in his isolated station and nearing the end of his contract, he begins to hallucinate and doubt his sanity.  Further investigation leads him to believe the industry he works for may have dire plans for him, and his only trustworthy companion, the lunar station’s computer system GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), could be in on the conspiracy.

The amazing thing about “Moon” is how much it isn’t any part of the current Hollywood trend.  You won’t find anything flashy, visually stunning, or action-oriented about the plot.  The film looks authentic, but also minimal, leaving the plot and Rockwell’s performance to generate the suspense.  Much like “2001” and other classic science-fiction films, “Moon” exists as a thought-provoking movie that raises a lot of questions about existence, humanity, morality, the nature of man, and several of the other big question marks.  In doing so, it can come off as small film with greater ambition than it can manifest, but it also makes for one of the year’s boldest films.  “Moon” stands as one of the most refreshing and interesting movies of 2009.

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  1. Everything about this movie makes me think of 2001: slow-moving, cerebral, largely focused on one character, etc. I’m anxious to watch it.

  2. Finally got around to watching this, and you’re right on the mark, MJV. It’s a well-thought-out science fiction film that uses the medium to explore what it means to be human. I thought it was deeply compelling, and very emotional too, especially near the end in a certain scene involving Sam and a video feed. Not what I was expecting at all, but I think that’s why I liked it so much. If Transformers 2 has a metaphysical polar opposite, this would probably be it.

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