Not a lot of science fiction films have a lasting impression on me. “Moon” is one of the few that has lingered with me for a few days after viewing it. It raises some ethical questions about cloning, and the value of someone’s living copy.
Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, an employee of a company that has stationed him on the moon to run an invaluable mining operation that provides much needed power back on earth. His contract is three years in length and is about two weeks away from expiring. It is then when he starts to experience some strange happenings. He has a hallucination of a teenage girl on the base. Later he sees the same girl standing on the lunar surface. This causes him to crash his vehicle. He awakens in the infirmary, where Gerty, the base computer, informs him that he was in an accident.
He does become suspicious when he overhears a live communication between Gerty and earth. The communications system is supposed to be malfunctioning, only allowing pre-recorded messages to go through. He decides to venture out to the crash site where he discovers another person who looks identical to him claiming to be Sam Bell. From there I’ll let you discover how the story plays out. Up to that point I was thinking the film was going to lead us down “2001” territory but instead it forces us to ask questions about whether or not clones are real people.
Would it be a crime against humanity to clone yourself and have the copy perform labour. Once I found out the nature of the main characters I began to feel a strange detachment from them. It was an odd feeling.
First time director Duncan Jones shows a seasoned hand at the way he allows these events to unfold. We are first caught up with the mining operation as well as the ominous visuals that the Lunar surface provides. But we are being setup for a truly fascinating morality play.
I think the crucial part of this story working is the dual performances by Sam Rockwell. He plays two different people, each trying to come to grips with other’s existence. It is fascinating the way the first character slowly fades as the new one who is introduced later takes over. Sam Rockwell is an actor has been underrated for years. I am hoping he can get some serious attention finally with this role.
“Moon” is a rarity in the sci-fi genre. It is not so much interested in outer space as it is in human emotion. The moon simply provides an interesting setup for what is really a tale of morality.