Moon is a 2009 British science fiction drama film directed by Duncan Jones. The film is about Sam Bell (played by Sam Rockwell), a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the Earth’s moon. It was the feature debut of director Duncan Jones, son of the British rock musician David Bowie. Kevin Spacey voices Sam’s robot companion, GERTY. Moon premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was released in select cinemas in New York and Los Angeles on 12 June 2009. The release was expanded to additional theatres in the United States and Toronto on both 3 and 10 July and to the United Kingdom on 17 July.
The film was praised by critics and was nominated for two BAFTA Awards, winning Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Jones. It also won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (defeating Academy Award for Best Picture nominees Avatar and District 9) and two British Independent Film Awards including Best British Independent Film (BIFA) winner of the 2009 award for the Best British Independent Film. It was nominated for the Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film and Best Actor for Rockwell.
Sam Bell is nearing the end of a three-year work contract as the sole resident at Lunar Industries’ largely automated lunar mining base “Sarang” (Hangul: 사랑 “love”). Sam oversees automated harvesters and launches canisters bound for Earth containing the helium-3 they have extracted. Chronic communication problems limit him to occasional recorded messages to his wife Tess, who was pregnant with their daughter Eve when he left. His only companion is an artificial intelligence named GERTY, who assists with the base’s automation.
Two weeks before he is to return to Earth, Sam suffers from hallucinations of a teenage girl. One such hallucination distracts him while he is out recovering a helium-3 canister from a harvester, causing him to crash his rover into the harvester. Rapidly losing air, Sam manages to put on his helmet, but loses consciousness.
Sam awakes in the base infirmary with no memory of the accident. He overhears GERTY receiving instructions from Lunar Industries not to let him outside the base and to wait for the arrival of rescue team “Eliza”. His suspicions aroused, he manufactures a fake problem to force GERTY to let him outside. He travels to the crashed rover, where he finds another, unconscious, Sam Bell.
He brings this other Sam back to the base and tends to his injuries. The two Sams start to wonder if one is a clone of the other. After a heated argument and physical altercation, they soon work together to coerce GERTY into revealing that they are both clones of the original Sam Bell, who has long since returned to Earth. GERTY activated a new clone after the rover crash and implanted the memories of the original Sam Bell. The two Sams begin searching the base.
They find out that live communications are being jammed by transmitters located beyond the outermost perimeter of the base. They also discover that the four previous clones had all started to physically deteriorate about three years after being awakened. Told they were being put into brief hibernation for the journey home, they were actually incinerated on the spot after being put to sleep. The two newest clones also discover many more unconscious doubles in a secret hidden vault below the main level. The older Sam drives past the interference radius in a second rover and calls Tess on Earth, only to reach Eve, now 15 years old, who informs him that Tess had died “some years ago”. He hangs up before her father can come to the screen.
The two Sams realize that the incoming “rescue” team will kill them both if they are found together. The newer Sam suggests sending the other to Earth in one of the helium-3 transports, but the older Sam, already in an advanced state of deterioration, knows that he will not live much longer. He proposes that the newer Sam leave instead and alert the public to Lunar Industries’ unethical practices. The older Sam plans to return to the crashed rover and expire there so that Lunar Industries will not suspect anything until it is too late. The newer Sam orders GERTY to revive a seventh clone to greet the Eliza team, then programs one of the harvesters to crash into a jamming antenna to enable live communications with Earth. Sam then reboots GERTY, erasing his memory records of the event. The older Sam, back in the crippled rover, remains conscious long enough to watch the launch of the ship carrying the other Sam to Earth.
As the credits roll, the helium transport is depicted entering Earth’s upper atmosphere as news broadcasts report that the clone’s testimony about Lunar Industries’ activities has stirred up considerable controversy.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film:
First Published: Feb 13, 2012 – Re-Published: May 23, 2013