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Reviewed on 2009-07-10
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
GenreMystery / Sci-Fi / Thriller
This suspenseful science-fiction thriller marks the directorial debut of Duncan Jones, who also came up with the intriguing original story.

An advertisement for an alternate energy source, the clean-burning Helium 3, harvested on the far side of the moon by Lunar Industries sets the stage in the opening frames.

Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell from "Choke," "Matchstick Men" and "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind") is the sole crew member living at the Sarang outpost mining base. His three-year contract with the company will expire in two weeks.

Sam is looking forward to returning to Earth, where he will be reunited with his attractive wife, Tess, and their 3-year-old daughter, Eve.

A broken satellite antenna forces him to send and receive only pre-recorded messages. His health is starting to deteriorate. He commiserates with his sole companion GERTY (the voice of Kevin Spacey), a robotic computer assistant, about frequent headaches and recurring hallucinations. His lack of focus leads to an accident when his lunar rover crashes into a harvester while on a routine inspection.

We next see Sam lying on his back in the infirmary at the base with no memory of how he got there.

This very intelligently constructed story expands your mind to future possibilities in genetic engineering. This ingenious mystery is full of crazy twists and surprising revelations. The economic clout of big business is pitted against the human rights of the little guy.

Rockwell shows his versatility with an amazing performance. He runs the gamut of emotions in this one-man show. The cinematography benefits from fantastic recreations of the lunar surface, the mining stations and the mining process made possible by the wonders of CG visual effects. The interior design of the work and living quarters inside the base is another plus. The mood and atmosphere are enhanced by a terrific musical score composed by Clint Mansell ("The Fountain" and "Requiem for a Dream"). This riveting movie excels in character development and keeps you guessing about the outcome. The humor comes from watching the mouth on the yellow face of the computer monitor turning up or down with either a smile or a frown.

Try to keep the major plot points under wraps when recommending this film so as not to spoil the movie going experience for your friends. This unique cinematic doozy is a refreshing alternative to the mindless summer blockbuster fare.

Opening exclusively at AMC Studio 30, AMC Barrywoods 24 and Cinemark Palace on the Plaza.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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