Every month or so I receive an email from the fine, fine folks at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and invariably each one includes some kind of giveaway contest whereby I drop my name and email into a virtual hat from which 10 lucky winners are selected to receive any number of prizes, from DVDs to movie tickets. Anyways, I always enter (it takes 30 seconds), and have even won a few times in the distant past. However, I was informed Wednesday that I had won a pair of tix to this past Thursday evening's sneak preview of Moon (2009). Kris had shown me the trailer for this one about a month ago and and I've been anxiously awaiting its release ever since. I picked up my tix from TADFF director and founder Adam Lopez in the lobby of the Varsity, and, after staring into the fish tank for a few minutes, entered the cinema...
Moon, directed by Duncan Jones (yes, that Duncan Jones......!?!?), is an existential sci-fi/subtle comedy/thriller starring the universally loved Sam Rockwell in what is essentially a one-man show. Aside from HALesque (one of several obvious visual and aural nods to 2001) voice work from Kevin Spacey (has there ever been an actor more suited to monotone robot voice-over than he?), and a few piped in recorded e-videos, it's all Rockwell, all the time. And as it mostly all takes place within the confines of a space station on - you guessed it - the moon, I had the sense that this would be wonderful material for the stage. The moon itself operates as an abstract idea, and someone could certainly adapt the surroundings to the jungle, the arctic, or underwater. Or to take the idea even further - and I guess this is what the filmmaker was going for - it could even take place in the dense urban jungle, for Moon is essentially a film about loneliness, and a bit about what it means to be a human, errr, being.
After a somewhat shocking mid-movie reveal (which I thought was going to be the film's natural conclusion), there is a distinct shifting of gears and the film moves into unexpected territory. At first, I scoffed at what I thought was a clumsy storytelling device, but as the second half of the film unfolds, it really blossoms into something entirely different, a meditation on mortality and morality, and it began to make much more sense to me. Apologies for the vagueness, but to talk specifically about the plot would not only be incredibly confusing but also a disservice to your own viewing.
Cycling home after the film, I sort of pushed the celluloid experience into the back of my mind. But since then, I can't stop thinking about what I saw: a deceptively simple story presenting many more questions than it provided answers, always a good thing. Check it out.