NZIFF 2009: Moon

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Review by Hugh Lilly

Duncan Jones
, born Zowie Bowie (son of David), has made one of the best science fiction films of the past decade. In a future where the Earth gets 70 per-cent of its energy supply from a single corporation which extracts solar power stored in rocks on the moon, Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) is the lone caretaker of a lunar mining station.

While out on patrol checking one of the harvesters, he crashes his vehicle and wakes up in the infirmary, where a HAL-like robot called Gerty—voiced in perfect deadpan by the inimitable Kevin Spacey—informs him about the accident, and his ensuing memory loss. After recuperating, he spies Gerty communicating live with corporate officials back on Earth. Only as far as Sam knows, the satellite used for live transmissions is on the blink.

Sam starts to hallucinate, and discovers odd video recordings made by people who look like him in the station’s archives, but he doesn’t remember making them. These are only the first pieces of a puzzle that Sam must solve in order to regain his sanity and work out how to safely return home.

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Clint Mansell’s sparingly-employed, beautiful score is just as haunting and precise as his work on Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream, although the themes here are less grandiose. Borrowing all the best bits from other sci-fi films—most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey and SolyarisMoon is an astounding début from a promising young director.

Moon screens on Monday July 13th at 4.45pm.

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