Moon (2008)

British writer-director Duncan Jones made an impressive debut with this low-budget, high-concept story of a moon worker’s existential crisis – as much psy-fi as sci-fi.

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“Like much science fiction Moon is a meditation on the conflict between the streamlining tendencies of technological progress and the stubborn persistence of feelings and desires.”
A.O. Scott, The New York Times, 2009

In contrast to much sci-fi of the CGI age, writer-director Duncan Jones’s low-budget debut devotes equal dramatic space to character and a grittily downbeat vision of humanity’s industrialised future. From Sam Rockwell he draws out a subtly complex portrayal of a blue-collar maintenance man nearing the end of his solitary three-year mission on the moon, and forced into the final crisis of a life he suddenly learns was never his own.

Jones’s reliance on model shots creates a visual link with the sci-fi of the 1970s, while the existential questions at the story’s heart hark back to 2001 (1968). Here too the lines between man and machine become blurred, and something very like compassion arises in a computer called GERTY, voiced by Kevin Spacey.

Duncan Jones drew inspiration for the film from Silent Running (1972), Alien (1979) and Outland (1981). He followed Moon with the bigger-budget but equally psychologically complex alternative-reality thriller Source Code.

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