Review: Duncan Jones' Moon

30 April 2023

Moon is a slow-burning sci-fi gem that explores complex themes of identity, isolation, and the consequences of technological advancement. It's a film that requires patience and an open mind, but those who are willing to engage with it on its own terms will be rewarded with a deeply affecting and thought-provoking cinematic experience.

Directed by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie + Mute), Moon tells the story of Sam Bell (an understated Sam Rockwell), a lone astronaut stationed on the moon who is nearing the end of his three-year contract. As he nears the end of his mission, Bell begins to unravel the mysteries of his isolated existence, culminating in the discovery of a clone of himself. What follows is a gripping exploration of identity, free will, and the nature of consciousness.

moon film poster duncan jones

Jones's direction is confident and assured, creating a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere that perfectly complements the film's introspective tone. The lunar base where Bell lives is meticulously crafted, with every detail contributing to the overall sense of isolation and claustrophobia. The cinematography by Gary Shaw is equally impressive, capturing the eerie beauty of the moon's barren landscape in stunning detail.

Sam Rockwell delivers a tour-de-force performance as Sam Bell, perfectly capturing the character's growing desperation and inner turmoil as he begins to question the nature of his existence. The fact that he essentially carries the entire film on his shoulders is a testament to his talent as an actor. 

One of the film's biggest strengths is its exploration of complex themes in a way that is both thought-provoking and emotionally resonant. Moon raises questions about the ethics of cloning, the nature of identity, and the importance of human connection, all while delivering a gripping narrative that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

Critics and audiences alike responded positively to Moon upon its release, with many praising its originality, strong performances, and visual style. The film won numerous accolades, including the BAFTA Award for Best British Independent Film and a nomination for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. 

That being said, some viewers may find the film's slow pacing and introspective tone to be a bit too ponderous, while others may be put off by the film's reliance on exposition to explain certain plot points. However, for those who are willing to engage with the film on its own terms, Moon is a deeply affecting and thought-provoking piece of science fiction that is well worth the time investment. 

In conclusion, Moon is a film that rewards patience and engagement, offering a hauntingly beautiful and thought-provoking exploration of complex themes that will linger with viewers long after the credits roll. It's a testament to what science fiction can achieve when it's done right, and a shining example of the power of cinema to ask big questions and challenge our perceptions of the world around us.

Here are 9 pieces of trivia about the film Moon:

  1. Moon marked the directorial debut of Duncan Jones. Before making the film, Jones had worked as a commercial director and had directed a few short films.
  2. The film's screenplay was co-written by Jones and Nathan Parker. Jones had originally written the script on his own, but Parker was brought in to help with revisions and dialogue.
  3. Despite its ambitious scope, the film was shot in just 33 days, with most of the filming taking place at Shepperton Studios in England.
  4. The lunar base set, which is a major feature of the film, was built in just twelve weeks by production designer Tony Noble and his team, who worked around the clock to complete it on time.
  5. Sam Rockwell, who plays the film's protagonist Sam Bell, spent three weeks in isolation to prepare for his role. During this time, he watched documentaries about isolation and read books about astronauts who had spent extended periods of time in space.
  6. Kevin Spacey, who provides the voice of the base's artificial intelligence system GERTY, recorded his lines in just two hours.
  7. Despite its relatively small budget of $5 million, the film was able to achieve an impressive visual style, thanks in part to the work of cinematographer Gary Shaw.
  8. Jones drew inspiration from classic science fiction films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running when making Moon, and his love of the genre is evident in the film's design and themes.
  9. Moon is dedicated to the memory of Jones' father, David Bowie, who passed away in 2016. 


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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