Brainflow Feed

That term first came to my mind when, as a child, I’d try to say “stream of consciousness” and end up with “brainflow.” It seems to fit here.

Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. (For now, they revolve mostly around films.)

Moon

Saturday, July 25th, 2009 8:10 am—Film

Moon (UK 2009, Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller), Writer: Nathan Parker; Director: Duncan Jones

Moon is the thinking person’s summer sci-fi blockbuster. You won’t see crazy effects, other than the impressive soundstage that convincingly passes for the moon’s surface. You won’t get whiplash-inducing fight scenes; the film’s few scuffles are shot and edited to look real—as in clumsy and unrehearsed. What you get instead is an exploration of identity, reality and consciousness that is perfectly at home in the context of outer space.

From the first time director Duncan Jones shows us Earth from the moon’s perspective, we know we’re set to face a shift in perception and how we view existence. Things are not the way we’ve always seen them. Moon introduces us to Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a lone astronaut nearing the end of a three-year contract harvesting Helium-3 from the dark side of the moon. The gas is sent back to Earth where it provides 70% of the planet’s energy.

As Sam starts counting down the days until he goes home, his life on the moon begins to unravel. He suffers from headaches and hallucinations, and has trouble figuring out what’s real and what’s imagined.

It’s hard to say much more about Moon’s plot without spoiling its surprises. What unfolds is thoughtful and suspenseful—albeit in a slow-boil kind of way—and brings up a lot of existential questions. What makes a person unique? What is reality? Do our memories, attachments and emotions mean any less if the people they’re associated with don’t share them? Moon has me looking up Einstein’s Optical Illusion of Consciousness and probing other esoteric matters. I can’t think of a better setting for these issues than space, the universe and all we don’t know; where within that massive expanse of matter, every one of our subjective realities is an illusion.

Moon is one of the more unique films out there. Just watching the trailer (see the Moon teaser review from May 2009) sucked me in to its mood, and the film as a whole doesn’t disappoint—the trailer’s tone is carried out well through the entire movie. That Moon succeeds so well is a tribute to Jones’ vision, and to Rockwell’s spectacular performance. For almost the entire film, Rockwell is the only actor on board. He has to carry the weight of Moon on his shoulders, and he’s more than up to it. The minutia of his life, and particularly his interactions with the computer GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), are very real, and touching in their simplicity. Jones’s approach reminds me a bit of Harmony Korine’s films in his willingness to let the audience just witness people being, rather than relying on tricks and gadgets with which to astound.

The score also goes a long way toward creating Moon’s tense, eerie mood. It’s a simple piano arrangement that’s been stuck in my head since I first heard it a couple months ago; in fact, it became the score to my walk back to the car after seeing the movie.

Moon is by far one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Possibly THE best. It’s up in the ring right now duking it out with The Wrestler. Tear your eyes away from the Michael Bay and McG clutter floating around out there, and lift your gaze upward. Moon is a must-see.

* * *

This post is for TS and PS. Without TS, I may never have opened my mind to the wonders of movies, especially indie films. And there would be no crazed scattering seagulls, or bronze statues chasing after you in the night, or… Without PS, there would be no TS. I’m grateful there was.

4 Responses

  1. Tom

    Thanks Amanda,

    I appreciate the dedication. It sounds like dad’s kind of movie. Not sure if you already know this, but I believe the director is David Bowie’s son. It would probably explain a lot.

    Watch out for those sculptures.

  2. admin

    🙂 Anytime. Yep, that’s him. David Bowie’s real name is David Jones.

  3. Henry

    We saw it on Monday and really enjoyed it. We were kind of surprised by the tone of the ending, it could have easily gone the other way…
    Who was the woman he saw at the beginning? Was it his daughter?

  4. admin

    I agree about the ending, but I think they were building up to that tone… About the other thing, shhh! We’ll have to speculate offline. 🙂

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