MOON: Sundance Reviews

     January 16, 2009

Written by Matt Goldberg

Throughout the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, we’re going to do a collection of reviews from major online movie websites as they provide their opinions of the major releases at the festival. Earlier today was the debut of the sci-fi thriller “Moon”, starring Sam Rockwell. The reactions tend to be generally positive but everyone cautions about keeping yourself as spoiler-free as possible. I’ve included spoiler-free excerpts from these reviews but read the full article at your own peril.

Peter Sciretta, /Film: “I’m a huge sci-fi geek, so I guess I’m predisposed to like a film like ‘Moon’. The film is a throw back to the old space sci-fi films of the 1970’s, and even borrows heavily from Kubrick’s ‘2001’. But at its core, the story is ‘WALL-E’ meets ‘The Island’ with’ Twilight Zone’ undertones. It’s a film filled with interesting ideas — big ideas, like any great sci-fi film. Charlie Kaufman was unable to construct a better horror film about death with last year’s ‘Synecdoche, New York'”

Devin Faraci, “The film is also starkly beautiful. The design of the moonbase and the lunar rovers are realistic, believable but also reminiscent of great scifi movies like ‘2001’ and ‘Silent Running’ (both of which ‘Moon’ shares a very, very close bloodline. If you wanted to do a trilogy of hard scifi films, you could do a lot worse than these three, which shares themes and visuals). The world in which Sam lives has been thought out and makes sense, even though it doesn’t quite click at first (the reveals cleared up lots of niggling technical questions I had during the first act). The effects work seamlessly – some that I can’t reveal are so good as to be nearly baffling, especially at the limited budget level at which ‘Moon’ was made. And the score by Clint Mansell is gorgeous, spare and haunting.”

James Rocchi, Cinematical: “‘Moon’ evokes many things — the nature of the human experience, the nature of employee-management relations, how the odds are fairly good that the future will be exactly like today, but more so. With of its far-flung inventions, impeccable visual design and Clint Mansell’s eerie score, ‘Moon’ boils down to a single man having a long conversation in isolation, telling himself a few lies and opening his own eyes to a few truths; Rockwell, playing the only person for tens of thousands of miles, has no one else to act against, and much of his plight has to be conveyed through special effects that gave him little or nothing to work with on-set.”

Cady Heron, Collider: “The film explores what it means to be human as well as the importance of self: how we define ourselves, how we are seen by others, what are our essential needs. It’s filmed beautifully and the effects look great, especially for an independent film. The production design is remarkable, too; the lunar station feels like a real, lived-in place, obviously not of our time yet not too glossy, either. The combined result is moody yet hopeful–a futuristic thriller with existential underpinnings.”

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