Cleverly conceived, evenly paced and consistently intriguing, this old-school science fiction thriller is a very welcome repost to the numbing spectacle of what passes for sci-fi these days. Taking his cue from genre classics from the late 1960s through early 80s – 2001: A Space Odyssey, Silent Running, Aliens, Outland – debuting co-writer and director Duncan Jones eschews the post-Star Wars special effects and action-oriented clatter and gives us a cerebral adventure that’s as thought-provoking as it is thrilling.
Set in the near-ish future, Sam Rockwell plays a mining engineer working for a corporation that’s found a new source of energy for the clapped-out planet Earth on the far side of its moon. As he nears the end of his three-year contract, during which his only companion on the moon-base is an artificially intelligent computer named GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), cabin fever begins to take hold.
To say any more would spoil the enjoyment of this smartly executed film. Jones, who, like Ridley Scott, learned the tricks of the trade directing commercials, takes his time setting up a very convincing future world before introducing a mind-bending turn of events and finally unloading a great pay-off. Made on a minuscule budget, Moon nevertheless looks fantastic, from the authentic moon-base to the weird lunar surface. And, at the centre of it all, Rockwell gives a typically charismatic performance that provides the film with some genuine dramatic clout. Moon heralds the arrival of an impressive talent.
General release from Fri 17 Jul. See interview with Duncan Jones.