Clint Mansell’s gorgeous and atmospheric theme for Duncan Jones’ film Moon.

For a low budget British indie, Moon is a pretty ambitious film, what with being a sci fi movie set on a moonbase and everything. It wears its influences (Silent Running, Dark Star, 2001) on its space suit sleeve, so it’s not what you’d call original, but then Jones can use our familiarity with Moon’s spiritual ancestors to wrongfoot its audience.

I don’t want to say too much about the story. It starts as a study in isolation: moon-bound employee of Lunar Industries Sam Bell is nearing the end of his three year contract looking after helium-3 harvesters. He’s alone up there, communications are down, and he whiles away the time watching recorded messages from his wife, making little model houses and tending his potted plants.

And then the whole thing takes a left turn into weirdness, but the way the script deals with that weirdness and its implications is beautifully and unexpectedly matter-of-fact, the existential elements brilliantly grounded by Sam Rockwell’s distinctively engaging performance.

The design and effects are great, but for sheer spectacle this is Sam Rockwell’s film. Moon was written specifically for him and he clearly relishes the opportunity. He turns in a typically fantastic performance (or two). I think I might love Sam Rockwell a little bit. Oh, and Kevin Spacey gets to be a creepy robot, which, you know, he pretty much is anyway.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, skip it and just watch the film. Thankfully the success of Moon doesn’t hinge on any single twist or revelation (which is what I was expecting, and I usually hate cuz I’ll spend my time watching the film trying to work out the twist, and I’m always disappointed when I do, and also disappointed when I don’t. Lose-lose!) but the less you know about this one before going in, the better.

Moon is thoughtful sci-fi of a kind we don’t get to see enough of, but it’s no Solaris, thankfully. It’s exciting and funny, poetic and human, and it’s got some Chesney Hawks in it. And Errol off 15 Storeys High. I loved it, that’s all.

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