Fri, Oct 09, 2009

: Moon

This film sounded fascinating: a low-budget sci-fi adventure about a guy alone on a station on the moon who starts seeing things and going crazy from being solitary. It also sounded somewhat predictable, since the plot I just revealed doesn’t include room for a lot of surprises. However, the film turned out to be even better plotwise, as there is a rational explanation for what the guy sees (and it’s far more satisfying than the old insanity chestnut). That said, I did find some flaws and the film left me slightly disappointed. Perhaps that because my expectations were too high. I hadn’t expected a rocking shoot-em-up adventure, but I did find the film sluggish in places. Sometimes there was action but it wasn’t compelling. Bigger than that, however, is the strangeness of the people. When the main character sees another version of himself he doesn’t react the way we’d expect: there’s no shock or even curiosity. The two people basically ignore each other, which made no sense to me. Later they do talk and confront one another. Now perhaps the first guy assumed the other guy was an illusion and that’s why he ignored it, but that should have been made clear. I found that strangeness off-putting and it distanced me from the character, made me less involved, less intrigued. Like I mentioned earlier, the actual revelation in the plot is excellent and satisfying, but it would have been even better if I’d been more involved. There’s also a certain amount of meaningless business: action for the sake of doing something, but it doesn’t propel the plot much. Sometimes that can work, but in this film it felt forced and several times I was telling myself, “Come on, get on with it.” There were other strange flaws. I’m not sure I can reveal them without spoiling things, but I’ll do my best. One example is the main computer character that controls the moonbase. I was never quite sure what to make of him (it?). He seemed to know what was going on and have all the answers, but the human never directly asked him to explain. At minimum I would have expected him to ask and the computer refuse to answer or in some other way deflect the question. Strange. Another strange flaw was the whole business of the blocked communications system. Supposedly live communications with earth are down and — minor spoiler alert here — the human figures out that the signal is being jammed. But apparently this jamming is being controlled by the computer, who is lying to the human about the transmitter being damaged. It didn’t make much sense to me why the signal needed to be jammed if the computer controlled the transmission anyway! Why couldn’t the computer just say it was broken? How would the guy know? (There are some reasons for this in the film; they are just not clearly explained.) There’s one other minor flaw and that is the very end of the film where the film ends too abruptly while there was still story to be told. I wanted to find out what happened next and though there was a one-line hint, the film stopped. It felt odd, as though the producers originally had more but ran out of money and just ended it there. Awkward.

All this said, however, these flaws are fairly minor. It’s a good film. Perhaps not great, but definitely above average. The explanation for the weirdness is excellent. The story is mostly compelling, except that some of the weird stuff that happens can be off-putting and confusing. The performances are awesome. Sam Rockwell is amazing. The two versions of himself seem completely different even when dressed identically. I’d say the acting is one of the best reasons to see this. I just also add that this film doesn’t at all feel low-budget: the sets and setting are tremendously well-done and everything feels realistic. I definitely recommend this film. It’s not for all tastes, can be a little slow (very much like 2001: A Space Odyssey), and there are some minor technical and story flaws, but overall this is a unique experience that is worth your time.

Topic: [/movie]