Moon 2009 – a film about the cynicism of people and the humanity of robots
Moon marks Duncan Jones’s successful directorial debut with a lot of positive reviews. Viewers’ opinions, as usual, were divided: fans of action fiction are rather disappointed, while the thoughtful audience accepted the work with a bang. The slogan is surprisingly good: “The other side of the future.” The genre of the film can be defined as you like: science fiction – of course, social drama – of course, intellectual arthouse – also yes. It is easy to draw parallels with Stanley Kubrick’s “A Space Odyssey” and Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” – not in terms of repetition of the plot, but in deep emotional impact.
Loneliness on the moon
Sam Bell is the protagonist of the story. An endlessly lonely employee of a large corporation fulfills a three-year contract on the far side of the moon. Satellite communication is faulty, there is no direct communication with the Earth. From time to time, the station receives messages from the management and family: a sweet little daughter, beloved wife – the beautiful Tess.
There are 2 weeks left until the expiration of the contract, the hero is fed up with the monotonous existence at the base, he is looking forward to returning to Earth. It is from this time that the oddities begin.
In fact, this film is a benefit performance for one actor. Sam Rockwell is remarkably good in the roles of two incarnations of Sam Bell: the first and second clones. Plus the wonderful robot Gertie. There is practically no one else in the frame. Secondary characters appear in a matter of minutes, their impact on the overall impression is minimal.
Sam Bell – which one is real?
The first character seen by the audience. Unkempt, disheveled, counting the days until he returns home. Three years of monotony and separation from family lead to a deterioration in general well-being. The hero is worried about headaches, mental disorders appear in the form of hallucinations.
Further – worse: vomiting of blood, loss of teeth. Most likely, each clone has its own duration – about 3 years. The waste material is destroyed just before our eyes, which is especially clearly seen in comparison with the second animated clone – Sam 2, who is healthy, strong, active.
Sam 1 travels to the lunar surface and has an accident. Then another, new activated clone appears on the screen.
The hero wakes up in the isolation ward, Gertie informs him of the accident. Suspecting something was wrong, Sam 2 goes outside and rescues Sam 1, who was still unconscious at the scene of the accident. There was an unexpected overlap: at the same time, two clones were at the base. Now they form a team and together they begin to search for the truth.
Both heroes have the same memories and quarrel over who is the real one.
I am the real Sam. I’m Sam Bell!
In fact, each of the heroes has been implanted with memory implants – loaded and edited memories of the source, Sam Bell himself, who lives on Earth.
When both heroes descend into the secret room-storage of the clones, they will discover the scale of the disaster. None of them are real, and how many clones have worked on the lunar base before – who knows?
Gertie is an emotional robot
Self-sufficient character, a robot in the form of a box with a monitor. Gertie’s task is to help, with which he successfully copes. Is a robot capable of feelings? Emoticons simply change on the monitor screen: from neutral to smiling or sad. This is already enough for the audience to accept the mechanical character as a full-fledged hero. And Gertie, crying or expressing sympathy with a metal manipulator hand, is a revolution in the world perception, a super-find of the director to enhance the effect.
At the end of the film, Gertie asks Sam to reboot. Perhaps an emotional robot has a hard time coping with a clone host change every three years.
All lies are scary
It is difficult to imagine the despair of a person who suddenly finds out: all his ideas about the world and his own life are a deception, a monstrous lie. In such a situation is the main character. Confidence in my past and future collapsed in an instant. In fact, the connection with the Earth is not lost, but is drowned out intentionally, the wife died long ago, and the little daughter is already 15.
Moreover: it turned out that Sam has no past at all, he is just a clone worker, produced to perform certain functions. The allotted time is rapidly approaching the end, there is nowhere to return, no one and nowhere in the world is waiting for it.
Clones – Rights and Human Feelings
The film raises a problem that is not as fantastic as one might think. The development of science is ahead of the establishment of ethical norms in society. Human cloning is already technically possible, but what next? In the understanding of the townsfolk, they are insensitive clones. And then a surprise: they feel, suffer, want to live and have the same rights.
I want to go home!
How will a society that considers humanism to be its basis, in the near future, will cope with such a situation?
It is difficult to say whether the director himself meant such a reading of the plot, but it is not difficult to see completely real images in disposable clones.
Millions of people on our planet work for a penny, their fate and health do not bother those who end up with great profits. The labor of a small person is cheaply valued, it can be easily deceived, replaced by another. A sad metaphor: in the event of misfortune, many of these clone people will find themselves as infinitely lonely as the hero of the movie on the moon.
Where are we now?
- The director’s father, the cult British megastar David Bowie, played the role of an alien in a science fiction film back in 1976.
- It took just 33 days to shoot Moon.
- As a result, the extremely small budget (only 5 million dollars) even benefited the picture: the minimalistic entourage enhances the desired effect.
The meaning of the film
Meaningful, serious fiction is an infrequent guest on the screens. Reflections on the meaning of the picture lead to certain conclusions about the future that humanity is building today.
- Corporations will easily accept prohibited acts and ethical violations for profit – at any time.
- Artificially created individuals are sometimes able to act more humanely than natural biological organisms.
- Human cynicism and lack of understanding about ethics can lead a society to sad prospects.
If we go back to the slogan of the film, it is clear what this is about.
The other side of the future
Duncan Jones’ work makes you think about eternal problems. Extraction of energy from space is, of course, good. However, the best proof of the high level of development of the people of the future is the civilized principles of communication with all thinking creatures. Otherwise, how are we different from robots?