Moon, a story of a man stranded within a space station upon our sole satellite, is a riveting action film that keeps you on the edge of your seat, never once slowing down in its unrelenting pace and doing its best to ensure that you never get a chance to blink!
That’s a complete lie, of course. Like every other great space drama (2001, Solaris) it’s slow, thoughtful, and intense- in a quiet and understated way.
Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is a worker on a station on the Moon that extracts energy from the sun to power the Earth. It’s the future and solar power has finally solved the energy crisis, but he’s not getting to reap the rewards just yet. He’s basically a Lunar groundskeeper, making sure the machines all work correctly and trying to keep him mind on the fact that he’ll be going home soon. Sam has been up there nearly three years, which is the (incredibly long) length of time that his shift lasts. During a drive while investigating some machinery he sees a hallucination of sorts and crashes his vehicle, and it’s here that things really start to unravel for him.
Unfortunately Moon is the kind of film that would probably be ruined with a description of the plot, so that’s all I’m going to give you. It’s not a twist film (thankfully) and there is a definitive answer to what’s going on to poor Sam, although the journey to that answer leads him to question both his sanity and what he perceives as reality.
Sam Rockwell is this film. There’s no one else actually present. Despite a few fleeting messages from bosses and loved ones over a video screen and a robot friend that speaks with Kevin Spacey’s voice, he’s all on his own, and through his performance you feel his crushing loneliness, his mind as it starts to crack from a lack of social interaction. It would make for a great Twilight Zone episode and in fact shares some similar themes from the very first one (“Where is Everybody?”)
Perhaps the only complaint that can be levied against it is that not much happens in it. Even the big events here are ultimately easily explained and quiet, and the slow, methodical pace will undoubtedly put off many people. It’s a very quiet and unassuming film.
But stick with it- Rockwell will push you through it. His performance here is unmatched, a man who’s been away from everything so long that he’s beginning to forget who he is. All he knows is that he wants to go home, and you’ll hope against hope that he makes it.