Well, the Oscars have come and gone, and the awards have been given out, and it's only a matter of time before Facebook and Twitter explode with what's unfair about what, but I'm choosing to take a bit more of a positive spin on things here. For the next four weeks, my 'Under the Radar' reviews will be based on movies that passed a lot of audiences by, featuring all four of the "Best Actors" who won this year, starting with Supporting Actor, Sam Rockwell.
Here we have 'Moon', starring Rockwell and almost no one else. The film takes place in the near future where the moon has been discovered to be a cost-effective renewable source of energy. Sam Bell (Rockwell) spends three years on the moon, alone, with fairly moderate communication with Earth, taking care of the equipment that allows the moon's energy to flow to Earth. However, nearing the end of his three-year stint, he discovers an unsettling truth about both the operation and himself.
For those who may not be into such things, fair warning that this is very much a bottle movie. Sam's accompanied by his faithful computer, GERTY (Kevin Spacey), but little else. Of course, this is what makes the movie so captivating. You totally get the sense of desperate loneliness this guy is facing. But nothing illustrates this more than Rockwell's incredible performance.
I haven't seen the guy in a lot, but anything I have seen that he's in seems to make him deserving of some kind of award. 'Moon' was a particular performance of his that stood out among the rest to me, and that's even speaking of his roles in movies like 'The Green Mile' and 'Seven Psychopaths'. In all honesty, this was a 2009 performance I felt that was ignored too easily from the Academy and the Globes alike. But at least BAFTA paid attention and gave director Duncan Jones his.
Aside from acting and directorial skills, however, this film does a great job at setting up atmosphere, and making the audience empathize with the lead character. GERTY is just as interesting, because one can very easily assume that he's a HAL waiting to happen. What the film does with it, however, is keep you guessing about it all the way through. There are moments you don't trust GERTY with anything, but there are moments you'd put your life in his hands.
This is one of those rare cases of "Man vs Himself" that is done in such an interesting way, i can't help but give the film the credit it deserves. Albeit, a little slow at times, if you like a movie that makes you think, this is a pretty great title to check out.