Sam Bell (Rockwell) is looking forward to going home to Earth after a three year assignment on the far side of the moon, overseeing the harvest of helium-3 for a company responsible for supplying forty percent of the world's energy. Trouble starts when Sam has an accident while out on the moon's surface checking on a malfunctioning harvester. I do not want to reveal any of the events that follow in case you get a chance to see this film without any knowledge of the major plot points. However, even if you know most of what happens going in (as I did), this film has such a unique ambiance, it captivated me throughout.
Speaking of captivating... Rockwell's performance is one of the best I've seen this year, maybe the best from a leading man. Although he shares the screen with no one but himself and a robot, he chews it up, convincingly displaying a wide array of emotions. His character skates on the edge of insanity, forced to question everything he knows to be real. As anticipated, the emotion of each scene is amplified by the brilliant score from Clint Mansell. He sets the mood with ethereal piano melodies, ambient strings, and entrancing percussion. Easily my favorite original score of the year to date.
Moon has the feel of classic science fiction in that deals with mature themes such as corporate greed, even effectively exploring what it means to be human. It's truly amazing what Duncan Jones was able to do with such a meager budget ($5 million), and in his directorial debut at that. The special effects are not like anything you will see in Terminator or Transformers, rather each set piece and model is simply what was needed to tell the story, and it is a haunting one. Excuse me if I seem to be overselling this movie (did I mention Sam Rockwell delivers a tour de force performance?), but Moon is one of my favorite films of the year, and it simply deserves to be seen.