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Friday, May 28, 2010

Review: Moon (The Best Movie of 2009)

MOON (2009)
The official tagline of the film is: "250,000 miles from home, the hardest thing to face...is yourself"

The Premise 
In 2009, there was a drought of "quality" movies. Summer Blockbusters, Romantic comedies, and Big stars took over the theaters. The fact that the 2010 Academy Awards had one of the lowest ratings of all time attests to that**. The Academy even had to shake things up by increasing the Best Picture nominees to  10 instead of the usual 5, and having 2 Hosts. If you'll ask me, most the 10 pictures nominated for Best Picture were just fillers, and the winner ("Hurt Locker") was good, but not good enough to compete with many other Best pictures from previous years, and not as good as "Moon"...the movie that i am now introducing you to, and reviewing. To simplify the premise of Moon, basically in the near future most of Earth's energy comes from Helium 3. A resource that is harvested outside the earth, mostly from the different regions of Earth's Moon. The biggest company providing this resource is Lunar Industries, who funds the construction of harvest bases on the moon, and the deployment of astronaut technicians to manage them. These technicians manage the harvesting operations 1 person on-site at a time, and the rest is totally controlled by Machines and Artificial Intelligence.

**in fact, the Academy awards has been on a downward spiral, with the lowest consecutive ratings in the last 3 years, than they've ever had.

The Promise
The Premise could make you think that it's one of those Sci-Fi movies....where the guy is all alone in space with machines running everything. If you are turned off by Sci-Fi, and dismiss the movie as another cheap Sci-Fi flick...you would be doing a great disservice to yourself. Moon is actually one of the MOST human movies you can see. Initially the movie promises a 1-man show led by Sam (played by Sam Rockwell, in what i believe to be his first leading role). The only other interaction he has on the Moon Base is GERTY, the artificial intelligence that controls the base (voiced by Kevin Spacey). For those 2001: Space Odyssey fans, the initial promise for you here would be the interaction of man and machine, responsible for the supply of the most important resource on earth, isolated together on a cold lifeless rock....what would happen in those circumstances....And is that all there is to it?

The Result
Such a simple premise...how could the result be so good? Frankly, the answer would be filled with Story spoilers. So instead i will just say that the very simple plot on the onset evolves into a more complicated tale, and then twists again into the simplest question possible: What makes us who we are? Director Duncan Jones makes his full-length film debut with Moon...and what an an amazing first try it is. Another plus of the film is the Musical Score (by Clint Mansell), which integrates very well with the changing tones of the story and the progression of the plot. Speaking of tones in the story, Sam Rockwell's performance was amazing throughout the film. He showcases all the ranges of emotion you could think of, and he does it with class. It's practically a one-man show. Practically. To give all credit to Sam would be unfair to Kevin Spacey's performance, which shows that great actors can build a great character even by just giving the voice of a glorified roving repair bot. As the artificial intelligence of the base, GERTY's actions and motives will leave you guessing most of the time, and always anticipating for more. Spacey's simple voicing of GERTY has more depth present than many performances we saw last 2009 from so-called blockbuster films. Aside from Rockwell and Spacey, the rest of the cast barely have cameo appearances,and aren't worth noting. So in the end, we have ourselves one of the best 2-man shows ever made. 

Why Watch it
The title of my review says it all, I consider this to be the Best Movie of 2009. This Movie is one of the reasons why indie films need to be kept alive, and new film makers need to be given chances, instead of just relying on the same people over and over. The odd thing is that technically this is not even an "Indie"film, because it was produced by Sony Pictures. Unfortunately, Sony treated it like an Indie film, and it was never widely distributed. Because of this treatment: the movie, the director, and the star (all deserving of accolades) never even got the chance to be nominated at the academy awards. There was even a small online petition ongoing last year to get this movie recognized, to no avail. Well actually, there was 1 good result, I was able to learn about the movie from that petition,and now you learned about it from me :p

Due to it's lack of support from Sony, this film remained a hidden gem, and the best chances you will get to watch it is to order the dvd/blu-ray from Amazon, or to download it (sadly). But if you can, I strongly recommend watching this Fantastic film.

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