Moon (2009)

My relationship with science fiction is kind of vexed, and after going through an exploratory phase of reading masses of the stuff about a decade ago I eventually came to the realisation that I liked SF in theory more than in practice. Reading about it in Trillion Year Spree made it seem more interesting than when I actually read some of the works discussed therein. Or maybe I just realised I prefer science fantasy (what a loathsome term) as opposed to the sort of thing advocated by those wankers who insist upon calling it “speculative fiction” and upon it being based upon the known or possible. (Especially when so much discourse seems to want to limit the realm of the latter as much as possible.) This isn’t really why I have a problem with Moon, the debut feature by Duncan Jones, who is now no doubt glad he decided when he was young that he no longer wanted to be called “Zowie Bowie” given how the film has boosted his profile. Moon is very consciously in the tradition of late 60s/early 70s SF like 2001 and Solaris, with somewhat more existential preoccupations than, I don’t know, Queen of Blood, being about a man who works for a company harvesting helium-3 on the dark side of the Moon; he’s the only human there, he’s been there for three years, and he literally finds himself—quite a lot of himself, in fact—and that he isn’t who or indeed what he thinks he is. It’s kind of like 2001 if the latter were an hour shorter, if the Discovery were a lunar base, if HAL wanted to save the humans, and if the humans were, you know, human. Despite a good performance by Sam Rockwell in the lead role(s), and despite being perfectly well made on an extremely low budget (I do like Jones’ preference for models rather than digital effects), I’m struggling to work out why it didn’t engage me more than it did. Maybe because, really, not much actually happens? Really, it could’ve been cut to an hour or so without that much loss. I missed this at the cinema cos at that time I was still in recovery mode and cinema-going was out of the question, but I do remember some hype about it that made me regret being unable to see it… now I’m a bit less sorry. Still be interested to see how young Duncan progresses, though.

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