Unreal Movie Review: Moon


I’ve said it before: one of the best things about living in New York City is the opportunity to see movies that are released only here and in Los Angeles.  Duncan Jones’ Moon is one of those movies, so I felt very fortunate to be able to see what was hailed as a cerebral, throwback science fiction movie.  Moon – Jones’ first full length feature – is the story of a man named Sam Bell who is employed by a company to mine a form of energy on the moon.  Of course, it’s not as simple as it seems, and before long, both Sam and the viewer are thrown into a psychological conflict reminiscent of Blade Runner or 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Moon is nice change of pace from effects-driven science fiction films, but it unfortunately falls short of being heralded as a classic.  Keep reading for the complete review; major spoilers ahead.


Let me start by saying that comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey are largely unavoidable.  Like Dave Bowman in Kubrick’s masterpiece, Sam Bell is left alone in the confines of space with no one to keep him company except for an artifical intelligence.  Instead of the creepy HAL-9000, though, Sam gets the slightly-less-creepy Gerty, voiced by Kevin Spacey.  Gerty’s “intentions” aren’t always clear, but he does state quite often that his primary responsibility is to keep Sam safe.

Soon into the film, there’s a problem with some of the mining equipment, and Sam has to enter his moonbuggy and fix the problem.  He’s been on the moon for nearly three years, which makes his physical and especially mental states far from adequate.  Sam has an accident, becomes trapped in the buggy, and the next thing he knows, he’s awakened in some type of examination room back at the moon base.  Gerty instructs Sam to stay inside the room and not to, under any circumstances, leave the base.  Sam naturally disobeys, and when he opens the buggy, he is shocked to find…himself.  And this is, of course, where the movie really begins.


What NewSam discovered was a clone of himself.  NewSam has all the memories of OldSam, thanks to technology, making him essentially a new, healthier replacement, fit to continue mining on the moon.  There’s no time loop, no parallel dimensions, or anything like that.  The hook, though, is that OldSam, who drove the buggy and became trapped inside, was also a clone – it’s this revelation that shatters Sam’s universe, and he begins to question his entire life, memories, and purpose.  Theoretically, despite all his experiences and memories, he is really just three years old.  There’s more to the story, of course, but the crux of Moon is the sudden identity crisis the character(s) experience.

Sam Rockwell does a fine job as Sam Bell; any actor that has to monopolize screen time had better be pretty good or else the film becomes unwatchable, and Duncan Jones does more than an adequate job for his first full-length feature.  Many of Jones’ shots are appealing, but for some reason fail to stun like many of Moon’s sci-fi predecessors managed to do.  Moon isn’t a classic, but it’s very good and very thought-provoking, which, nowadays, is high praise for a science fiction film.  The Clint Mansell score doesn’t hurt, either.  I actually enjoyed this movie more a few days after I had seen it and was able to mentally digest its themes.  If you’re a fan of hard core science fiction, I can definitely recommend Moon.  It’s no Blade Runner, but you certainly won’t be disappointed.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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  1. can you maybe post a review without spoilers? Why would you put major spoilers in a review for a movie that hasn’t been widely distributed yet?

  2. Is it just me, or is it utterly stupid to put major spoilers in a review?

    Or perhaps it’s just me that read reviews to find out whether or not a movie is worth watching.

  3. I felt that reviewing Moon was near impossible without revealing spoilers. I didn’t really talk much about “the plot,” which was intentional. Besides, the major spoiler I did reveal takes place in the first half of the film.

    In the future, though, I’ll try harder to not reveal as much.

    Thanks for reading.

  4. Good review, i feel like your thoughts on the movie are pretty much in line with mine, as for the spoilers, all i have to say to the people posting the comments, maybe instead of complaining about the spoliers, you should just wait until the movie comes out, and go see it for yourself before reading any reviews. Or you can take not to the part of the article that states, ” Keep reading for the complete review; major spoilers ahead.” Most movie sites with reviews will tell you that if there are spoilers included or not, that gives you the oppurtunity to decide if your going to continue to read.
    Either way you look at it, this movie is a movie worth seeing, regardless if the the twist has been revealed to you.
    @Madison: keep up the good work, i enjoy this site very much.

  5. @ cams

    Of course I agree with you about the spoilers. It’s not like readers weren’t warned. Maybe I should make it more obvious in the future, though; I’d hate to ruin a movie like this for anyone.

    Glad you enjoy the site. Thanks for reading.

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