Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bowie's in Space

(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics)

Jon and I were lucky enough to see a screening of Moon on Monday. I'm going to talk about it, but don't fret, I won't spoil anything for you. In fact, if you're going to go see this film, I would suggest not letting anyone spoil it. Don't read the reviews (except mine, obviously!). Don't even watch the trailer. Throw down your $8 and check it out if:

1) You trust my taste
2) You don't need sex scenes, explosions, or high-speed car chases to enjoy a movie
3) You like films that make you think (and give you a bit of a mindf*ck)
4) You're not opposed to something that could reasonably be classified as sci-fi
5) You enjoy watching really fantastic acting

Moon stars the versatile Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell and the voice of Kevin Spacey as Gerty, the robot who wears his emoticons on his sleeve. It takes place on the moon (surprise!) and it is fascinating in its simplicity. It starts out slowly and quietly, with the pace of the film and music perfectly conveying the monotony of everyday life away from Earth and completely alone. Part of the reason I enjoyed Moon so much was the acting of Rockwell. You feel for him when you see how the life of solitude is affecting him and you root for him to get back home and back to his wife and daughter.

Then things start happening. This is the stuff I won't give away, but I assure you, you will think you see what's coming, and you will only be half right. There is no Armageddon-style heightened drama, but it is dramatic.

Moon is the brainchild of Duncan Jones, sometimes known as Zowie or Joey Bowie. Yes, he is David Bowie's son and yes, from what I can tell, he inherited a few of his dad's odd sensibilities about life, space, and the universe. This is his first film and I can't wait to see his next.

There is the weird sci-fi mix of artificial intelligence, science gone wild, questions of right and wrong, uncertainty about what is real and what is imagined, the unknowns of space, and the mysteries of the human mind.

It wasn't like Donnie Darko, where I left the theater questioning what I saw and wondering how it all fit together, but the next day I was definitely still thinking about it. I kept remembering little tidbits here and there that I might not have fully appreciated at the time. I had a few "Ah-ha!" moments and came to a few realizations about what I think he meant by some of the choices he made with the storyline. I may have overthought some of it (as is my style), but with movies I enjoy trying to wrap my mind around the "bigger picture."

So have I convinced you yet?

Tomorrow: Public Enemies screening after work. Very excited about this one as well!

Major thanks to Gapers Block for the screenings, as usual. If you're in Chicago and don't read the site or follow them on Twitter, you're missing out!


Camera Crazy said...

I'm not much into sci-fi but you've definitely made it sound intriguing. As is always the case--your writing is awesome.

organica design chicago said...

I loved this review; because all "Moon" reviews should give as little away as possible. In fact, I just mentioned this flick at a Labor Day Party, and my friend says it's still playing - yup, still there at Piper's Alley. I rec'd it to all in the same fashion: Sci fi? Want mystery or a mind f#$%? Liked 2001: A Space Odyssey? Then go see it.

Anyway, do you mind reprinting this review elsewhere on a Chicago Blog? I may be in touch.