Moon (2009)


  • Featuring a terrific lead performance and a compelling science fiction plot, Moon is thought-provoking and memorable.
  • Sam Bell 1 and Sam Bell 2 (both Sam Rockwell) are different enough to work as separate characters, but also similar enough to be derived from the same source.
  • The film is thematically powerful, as the best science fiction needs to be.
  • The opening advertisement for Lunar Industries effectively delivers necessary exposition.
  • Sam Rockwell is fantastic. The man has never had a poor performance, but Moon is quite possibly his best work.
  • Director Duncan Jones and Writers Mark Bowden and Nathanial Parker carefully build each revelation, so that we accept every new development.
  • They make a few minor plotting mistakes, however. For example, when Sam 2 first leaves the space station, we see only one rover. Yet, later he and Sam 1 have their own separate vehicles. How? And why?
  • Along the same lines, Sam 2 has a very difficult time convincing GERTY (Kevin Spacey) to let him outside, but he and Sam 1 leave at will each successive journey. Also, long range communication is blocked at the station but GERTY manages to have a real time conversation anyway.
  • That brings me to the movie’s most significant flaw: GERTY. He deflects questions he doesn’t want to answer, lies once or twice, and shows empathy, facts that mean he frequently acts almost human. Yet, Jones and his writers occasionally suggest GERTY is programmed to behave a certain way. It is difficult to imagine a single program explaining all of his actions.
  • But even GERTY is a relatively minor problem. Moon is very good.
  • Final Grade: B+

42 thoughts on “Moon (2009)

    • I pretty much shrug at those plotholes, too. Each is individually quite minor. Add them all together, and they’re hard to totally ignore, though.

      All in all, I really like this one. A lot. If only because Rockwell is . . . . Wow-worthy . . . here. How was he not nominated for an Oscar?

  1. Good review. Rockwell truly was great here and it was a surprise that he didn’t get a nomination for this. Tough year, I know, but he really did work wonders with such limited-material that it surprised the hell out of me.

    • Honestly, he could have been nominated twice – once for Best Supporting and once for Best Lead. It is stunning he wasn’t on the final list, no matter the quality of his competition (and it was very good).

    • It is definitely very, very good. And he is astonishing.

      Now that I have finally seen, I hate Oblivion even more than I did the first time through. Moon is that good. 🙂

  2. I can’t believe I haven’t seen this yet, I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it. Nice review, it’ll spur me into watching it hopefully at the weekend, after I finish with all the awful romance.

    • I can see why. It is very good. According to the definitions of my grading scale, I had to give it a B+, but I didn’t really want to . . .

      Almost didn’t, hoping I’m the only person who’s ever read the definitions. 🙂

    • I won’t say anymore about GERTY, so as not to spoil anything, but he is the biggest issue here. By far.

      Sam Rockwell, though? Yeah. I can’t believe he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar here. He is … just … wow.

  3. Great review! I need to rewatch this one. Caught it at an outdoor moonlight cineam which was perfect, so I’ve been reluctant to check it out on the small screen, as it might not live up to that first experience.

    • That first experience is definitely perfect. I can’t imagine this living up to it, honestly.

      But that doesn’t mean it won’t be good. This movie is still very enjoyable on a television, at least it was for me.

  4. I’ve heard many a good word about this film and I am a sucker for the sci-fi, and when you toss Sam Rockwell into the mix.. .oh man. I have to see this. Your good review just another reason I must make that sooner rather than later.

    • If you like Rockwell, you need to make it . . . . like tomorrow. I think this his best performance.

      This is one of the best sci-fi flicks I can remember seeing in a long time. (Don’t let the B+ fool you on that front. I only scored it as such because of the way I’ve defined my grades – I wanted to grade it considerably higher.)

      • hah! I know the feeling man. I sometimes get pigeonholed into my own system because there are elements that I really LOVE about a film that i only love because of personal bias, but on technical merit I have to rate the thing lower, just becaues of the standards, say a 6/8, represents. If that makes sense. Feel like I didn’t explain that really well,

      • Totally makes sense. You have a definition for what a 7/8 or 8/8 flick needs to be. And if something you really like doesn’t quite fit that definition, you’re stuck giving it a 6/8.

        Which is exactly what happened with me and Moon. 😉

  5. Glad you liked Rockwell’s work, he must be one of the most underappreciated actors when it comes to accolades for his work. I liked Moon, some people say it’s one of the best science fiction movies which I think is overhyping it, but Rockwell’s work and the score are excellent.

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