Determined to review at least one movie I knew virtually nothing about before watching, I went into Moon without reading any reviews, seeing any trailers, or knowing anything about the plot besides the very basic description Netflix gave me. Was this approach worth it for that particular film? I’d say so–otherwise, my feelings of disappointment regarding it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as genuine.
That isn’t to say I hatedthe film. In fact, it looks incredibly great even without knowing that the budget was only $5 million, and its gimmickof putting one man in an enclosed spaceand letting everything happen in there (used to masterful effect on the criminally overlooked Locke) works really well to build up some great atmosphere. In this case, that enclosed space would be Sarang Station, a miningfacility on the far side of, yes, the moon that's only manned bySam Bell (Sam Rockwell), who’s finally nearing the end of his three-year shift. However, right around then, he stumbles across something very unexpected. Very, very, very unexpected.
By now, you’re probably thinking that this is a taut, disturbingpsychological sci-fihorror/thriller along the lines of, say, Event Horizon (planning to see that really soon, by the way). And with the bizarre hallucinations Sam has towards the very beginning, that’s exactly where the film seems to be headed. However, once the aforementioned discovery is made, it takes a complete U-turn and becomes a slow sci-fi drama, almost completely discarding this suspense in the process.
I say “almost” because, without giving away any specific details, there is a violent fight scene that had me thinking that everything afterwards would finally speed up a bit, only for the exact opposite to be true. And really, although boththe drama and horror-ish parts of the film were pretty well-done overall, this tonal confusion between the two is awkward at best, slightly jarring at worst, and by far the film’s biggest flaw overall–even more so, in fact, than the frustrating missed opportunities (the bulky, HAL-esque AI machine with Sam–voiced byKevin Spacey, ironically one of the last people you would ever want to be stuck in outer space with–is really just there when he could’ve been so much more)and often unnecessary score.
Again, I did notcompletelydislikeMoonat all–in fact, I still very much admiretheuniquely isolated setting, strongperformances, and incredibly thought-provoking narrative twists. In fact, considering how great those three aspects of the film are, I really do hate to focus so much of my energy on the parts of it that weren’t quite as accomplished. Then again, if they weren’t so massively flawed, I wouldn’t be devoting so much of my time to them in the first place. Fair’s fair, I guess. Still a film worth checking out, though the incredibly high amount of praise most critics have dumped on it is, to put it lightly, a bit much.