This intelligent and philosophical sci-fi is one of the tightest and most elegant in this genre in years. Directed by David Bowie's son Duncan Jones and produced by Sting's wife Trudie Styler, you may not have expected a film of Moon's calibre; the production is flawless, with brilliant use of models and very tasteful cinematography which illustrates the isolation of Sam's assignment. And the direction is perfectly balanced, combining a keen eye for details and characterological vibration with the film's constantly interesting ethical and contemplative aspect. To what degree can isolation lead to madness? What rights do the different appearing characters have? And how is the balance of power between them?
There is little doubt that Jones is inspired by Kubrick's 2001 and other senior science fiction films, but it is fair to say that the direct similarities largely stop at the ostensible one between HAL 9000 and GERTY. In fact, Jones rather uses our anticipation in this respect to create his own version of a cold and eerie atmosphere, making sure we don't feel too comfortable in our seats. And this thriller effect is a great achievement, considering how underpopulated the film is and the low number of locations which is being used.
Still, the greatest achievement with Moon is Sam Rockwell's remarkable performance. With the film essentially being a one-man-show, Rockwell is able to act out against entities which aren't thespians' usual sparring partners, and in the process, he creates full-blown, real and troubled souls, with their own distinctive characteristics. Often when this kind of acting is required, you'll find it is overdone, but Rockwell maintains a perfect balance in one of this year's most accomplished performances. He is the icing on this very delicious moon-cake.