Summary from Metacritic:
It is the near future. Astronaut Sam Bell is living on the far side of the moon, completing a three-year contract with Lunar Industries to mine Earth’s primary source of energy, Helium-3. It is a lonely job, made harder by a broken satellite that allows no live communications home. Taped messages are all Sam can send and receive. Thankfully, his time on the moon is nearly over, and Sam will be reunited with his wife, Tess, and their three-year-old daughter, Eve, in only a few short weeks. But, Sam’s health starts to deteriorate. Painful headaches, hallucinations and a lack of focus lead to an almost fatal accident on a routine drive on the moon in a lunar rover. While recuperating back at the base (with no memory of how he got there), Sam meets a younger, angrier version of himself, who claims to be there to fulfill the same three year contract Sam started all those years ago. Confined with what appears to be a clone of his earlier self, and with a “support crew” on its way to help put the base back into productive order, Sam is fighting the clock to discover what’s going on and where he fits into company plans.
Is he going crazy? Is that other version of himself really there? Bearing more resemblence to the existential sci-fi of the past than of modern crap like Transformers II, Moon is a welcome little surprise. The story is by, and the movie is directed by Duncan Jones. That name is probably not familiar, but his lineage is. Duncan Jones is David Bowie's son.
Old school special effects evocative of 2001 and a general look not unlike that movie and maybe the inside of the Nostromo in Alien. This was a low-budget independent ($5 million budget, I heard) but the effects are not bad. They really play to the story of a man who has been alone on the moon base for many years (longer than he knows). There are subtle references and similarities to 2001, most notably in the robot voiced by Kevin Spacey.
In pacing and theme, reminds me of Solaris. It's largely psychological like that movie. Don't go into this expecting a shoot-em-up Hollywood sci-fi movie. It's contemplative, some might even consider it plodding. But I feel it's essential for the development of the plot. And only an actor as talented as Sam Rockwell could pull it off. Sam Rockwell is great. His performance is more than a little reminiscent of Tom Hanks in Castaway in that his acting is about playing off himself. I really think he is one of the best American actors out there but he doesn't get a lot of credit.
Moon explores the nature of consciousness, loving oneself, loneliness, paranoia, and even the individual's role in corporations.
There have been some really good sci-fi movies over the last few years (District 9, Serenity, Star Trek, Sunshine) and Moon is proof that the trend is continuing. Grade: A-