Watching Moon feels like discovering a lost film from the 1970s. With such striking resemblances to films like Silent Running and Soylent Green, and little in common with much of modern sci-fi, it paradoxically feels both old and new.
The Story of Moon
In the near future, Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is an employee of Lunar Industries Ltd, working and living alone on the far side of the moon. He’s supervising the mining operation of helium-3, a clean energy resource used on Earth. With two weeks to go of a three year contract, Sam has an accident outside the base and mysteriously wakes up back inside — no longer alone.
A Moon Odyssey
The opening of the film establishes Sam’s day to day life working on the moon base. After almost three years he exists on autopilot as he works, exercises, eats, sleeps and occasionally gets a message from his wife, Tess (Dominique McElligott), back on Earth. Though the base has a very clean look to it, it feels very lived in, reminiscent of Alien. There’s a retro aesthetic with classic keyboards, chunky moon bases and toy-like buggies. There’s not a hologram in sight. This is a clever move by Jones as it establishes genre conventions while giving the film a timeless feel.
The film is beautifully shot in very composed manner by Gary Shaw obviously owing a massive debt to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Another link to Kubrick’s classic is though Sam lives a lonely existence he has a companion in the form of GERTY, a robotic assistant voiced with brilliant neutrality by Kevin Spacey. The two converse with the ease of old work buddies. In a lovely creative touch, GERTY sports a small digital display containing a very simple yellow smiley face. Depending on the interaction with Sam, the expression can change. This adds an enormous amount of personality to the bot and lends comedy and emotion to the story.