I wish I could tell you a lot about the plot of Moon. I really do. It would make things a whole lot easier for me, but would also spoil a big portion of the surprise that the film has to offer, and that wouldn’t be fair. In fact, I can only get into about the first 25 minutes or so, because there is a plot twist at this point that sets up what happens for the majority of the movie’s runtime.
Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is just about to finish his tour of duty on a space station on the Moon. This has so far lasted approximately 2 years and 50 weeks, so it’s certainly time for Sam to be finished. He is told that he will be allowed to leave after 3 years–it is to believe that some sort of contract is involved in this timeframe–and we first meet him about two weeks before said contract is about to end.
Now, Sam’s job is actually quite an easy one, apart from being isolated from the world for three years. All he has to do is perform repairs and maintenance. He’s up there to make sure that the drilling for Helium-3, the substance that is meant to supply 70% of the Earth’s energy, goes smoothly. He is accompanied by a computer named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey), and that’s about the only interaction he gets with anyone else. He gets the occasional message from someone on Earth, but is more or less isolated on the Moon.
At one point, he gets into a crash, and wakes up in the infirmary, being taken care of by Gerty. This is where I will depart from describing the plot, because once he awakens, he finds some things out that he wasn’t supposed to. Hopefully this intrigues you enough to watch Moon, as it definitely deserves to be watched.
I will say that the stress of being alone for approximately three years has finally begun to catch up with Sam, both mentally and physically, and we begin to wonder how reliable a narrator he is. Not just because he has what seem to be hallucinations, but also due to a couple sloppy edits near the beginning of Moon. At least, they seemed sloppy to me–easily detectable–and they definitely did not seem to be there intentionally, because as the film goes on, the poor edits did not.
One thing that Moon does really well is build up its lead character. While I won’t reveal the plot that comes with this characterization, I will say that by the end of the film, Sam Bell will be a different man. He will also be a character that you just might shed a tear for, as there are some truly touching scenes throughout. And if you think you now know how this film ends, wait for just one moment, because you do not.
There aren’t really a lot of twists in the plot of Moon, but there don’t need to be many in my eyes. The story is kept simple so we can get an emotional attachment with our lead, as well as to allow us to question the ethics of the almost everything that goes on in the film. Is it morally right to have a man live on the Moon, alone, for three months? Would drilling on the Moon solve our potential energy crisis? Other questions would involve spoiling part of the film, but they will go through your mind.
In fact, what Moon does best is leave you thinking. Things that aren’t explained will make you wonder, while explanations given will not necessarily satisfy your curiosity. You will ponder many situations in the film, and even think about how you would react in them. Sam Rockwell manages to, at points, become an empty vessel for you to embody with your own thoughts, yet still makes you care for his character, due to the bond you feel with him.
Apart from the editing issues, which I’m guessing were due to the film’s smaller budget, there aren’t many problems with Moon. Some of the scenes do look like they are fake, or more old than they should be. It’s still a surprise to find out that the film only took $5 million to create, and that is impressive. Even though there are problems created by the low-budget, it usually does overcome them in the way that it keeps you focused on its characters, rather than its scenery. Even though the majority of the film takes place on the Moon, you won’t focus on it. Impressive!
Despite being hampered by its low-budget, Moon stays incredibly compelling and entertaining to watch. The scenery doesn’t look as great as it likely could, but that fails to matter much when you are so intrigued by the main character you are presented with. Sam Bell develops throughout and is acted out wonderfully by Sam Rockwell. You will grow to care about this character, through good times and bad. Moon is a great science fiction film, one that will keep you fixated on the screen.