Sara Vilkomerson’s Third Stringer: Space Oddity

moon still3 Sara Vilkomersons Third Stringer: Space OddityConsidering we’ve always been a bit, shall we say, wary (read: terrified) of both outer space and robots, imagine our surprise to discover just how enjoyable a moviegoing experience Moon is. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, an astronaut who is close to completing a three-year contract with a company that mines Helium-3—one of the main sources of energy for our little planet, spinning hundreds of thousands of miles below. He desperately misses his wife and daughter—his only company is a robot voiced by Kevin Spacey (think about it: who could do creepy space robot voice any better?)—and his health is mysteriously deteriorating when he meets a younger version of himself on the lunar space station. That’s right: The only thing better than one Sam Rockwell in a movie is two, or three! Director Duncan Jones (son of outer-space-preoccupied David Bowie—cue up your Ziggy Stardust!) does a fantastic job pacing the anxiety-provoking action and various twists and turns. The whole film feels like a throwback to classic sci-fi films (think 2001, Blade Runner), days that didn’t rely so much on CGI but on good old-fashioned and clammy human panic. We’re not sold on outer space just yet, but we are on Moon.

svilkomerson@observer.com