Film (2009). Liberty Films UK in association with Xingu Films and Limelight/Lunar Industries. Directed by Duncan Jones. Written by Nathan Parker; story by Jones. Starring Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey (voice), Dominique McElligott, Kaya Scodelario. 97 minutes. Colour.
In the Near Future, a new Power Source – fusion fuelled by lunar helium-3 – has solved Earth's energy problems. Sam Bell (Rockwell) is coming to the end of his three-year tenure as the sole human supervising the heavily automated mining process on the Moon. His only companion is GERTY 3000 (perfectly voiced by Spacey), an AI who deliberately recalls but inverts the malevolent HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The film begins as the portrait of an isolated man under psychological pressure, who begins to experience a series of anomalies including hallucinations, gaps in consciousness, and physical deterioration, culminating in the materialization of a Doppelganger after an industrial accident leads to another instance of Bell being awoken prematurely. Together the pair discover that both are short-lived Clones, terminated and replaced at the end of each tour, and hatch a counter-plan to send one of them back to earth.
The initial mystery, the manifestations of Scodelario's character, awkwardly turns out to be nothing to do with the clone plot but the product of an entirely unexplained secondary element of Telepathy. Moon is all the same stronger before its big reveal than after; especially effective are the use of the everyday grammar of film editing to evoke unsettling dislocations in continuity and consciousness, and the hints of a more metaphysical and psychological rupture in reality than proves to be the case. It was overall a sensitive and confident debut, and received considerable acclaim from critics as a rare example of serious mainstream science fiction cinema; its focus on ideas over imagery was welcomed by fans who awarded it the Hugo for best dramatic presentation – beating the spectacularly successful Avatar (2009). [ML/NL]
see also: Cinema.
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