For a good 30 minutes, you’ll wonder why you’re bothering to watch Moon
4/5 Dir Duncan Jones UK (18+) For a good 30 minutes, you’ll wonder why you’re bothering to watch Moon. It’s disorienting. The knackered sets appear not only low-budget, but dated, dredged up from a ’70s sci-fi production and forced back into duty against their will. Kevin Spacey voices an artificially intelligent computer that displays emotion through a yellow smiley face on its monitor, Sam Rockwell cuts a pathetic figure as the sole caretaker of a space station, and you wonder just how long you can watch him go about his everyday, dull activities. When was this made? Surely before they got famous? Nope, it’s from 2009.
However, the minute Moon starts slowly to reveal its hand, it’s a different film entirely. Even the sets suddenly make sense, their dilapidated, claustrophobic presence matching the situation that Sam Bell (Rockwell) begins to realise he’s in. We don’t want to reveal too much, but take it from us: Moon turns out to be a moving and impressively humane meditation on the advancements of science and the cruelty it may encourage. Central to this success is Rockwell’s turn as the film’s sole character (unless you count Spacey as the machine). He is completely convincing, holding the whole thing together through sheer force of performance.
If we have one quibble, it’s Spacey’s AI computer GERTY, a part that seems unnecessary aside from a final plot point. Surely the scriptwriters could have found another way out that excluded this faintly daft addition to the proceedings? Fortunately, it’s not enough to tarnish Moon, which we thoroughly recommend you see and seriously ponder.