Friday, January 7, 2011

Moon (with spoilers)

[I wrote this appreciation of Moon over at my blog, but decided to post it here as well.]

Ooooh, I loved Moon. I watched it whiskey drunk and got this sad funk/identification thing going on with the film (because, SPOILER, I'm cloned). Lots of parts of the film were surprises. Lots of parts of the film triggered my cliche sensor only to deftly prove themselves non-cliches. It's fast and compact (both narratively and visually) and powerful.

Probably what I like best about Moon is the way the character's realizations build naturally and ominously until they are beyond his realization and then become our realizations. Rockwell's character, stuck alone in his moonbase for a contracted period, discovers an injured version of himself in a crashed rover and brings him in to be examined by the friendly (if distant) AI. As the original character interacts with the other, seemingly fresher version of him, the original begins to fall apart, physically (as I remember, a tooth falls out) and mentally, and by the end of the film is a coughing, incoherent mess. He's too messed up to solve the mystery he uncovered, I mean, so the task falls to his fresher replacement, and to us, the audience. The saddest thing is that by this point the mystery is no longer a mystery, and the original version of the character is beyond caring about it at all, and the newer version sees that it's pointless, sort of, to care because he will eventually fall apart...

The story of the film, of course, is just a highly compressed version of the story of life, which is what makes it so emotionally effective: we start glowing with curiosity about how everything works and how we fit into the world and if we're lucky we find dark and sprawling secrets just below our feet but then, always, we end up invalid and, too often, too spaced out to remember our original curiosity or to believe that it mattered.

Anyway, I was reminded of Moon by Nicholas's Rombes's piece at The Rumpus. Rombes draws out (with spoilers) some of the film's features, especially the subtlety of its narrative pace, that I most enjoyed.


  1. Oh man yes! We watched this just a little bit before we started the blog up, actually, or I probably would have written about it too. Moon was great. I mean I remember having some reservations about maybe the resolution or something, I don't remember anymore, but the pacing was gorgeous and the mystery of that first encounter between them. Really loved Rockwell, and made me appreciate his role in Iron Man 2 more as well. (He is awesome in Iron Man 2.)

    Also here is a secret: If someone wants me to publish them, they should have a robot so helpful and friendly that it becomes menacing. I can't *ever* get enough of that.

  2. Mike, good points:

    1) Sarah and I agreed the resolution was a bit rushed and tidy, to the point that the audio clatter of news reports just before the credits could almost be interpreted as a character fantasy (I don't think that's what the director was going for, but).

    2) That robot was wonderful.