I just watched Moon, the film about He3 mining on the moon that stars Sam Rockwell. It is a deeply affecting film.
There are no such things as spoilers. Even films with surprise endings like The Sixth Sense are better if you know the plot. So as usual, I am not going to worry about spoiling this film.
What most struck me in Moon was the relationship between Sam 5 and Sam 6. They lie to each other in the most humane way. For example, Sam 5 has managed to make a call to the original Sam’s house where he finds out that his baby daughter is now 15 and his wife is dead. While Sam 5 is asleep, Sam 6 plays the call log and gets the same devastating information. Think about it: if you learned that you were a clone and that all the memories you have of life had been implanted, you would not deal with it well. Especially if you learned that your spouse was dead. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
Later, Sam 6 tries to convince Sam 5 to escape to earth. As an incentive he says, “Maybe you can meet Eve [the daughter] in person.” But both of them know this is impossible. They both know that Eve is grown and that she has a real father. And they don’t let on. It is a sweet moment. And it is this moment and many others like it that elevate this film to something more than an intense existential rumination.
But the intellectual part of the film would be enough to make Moon well worth watching.
The film brings up some profound questions. How do we know who we are? Do we belong to ourselves? After our memories are gone, did we ever exist? And what does it matter anyway? I have no answers.
Moon is really well made. According to Wikipedia, it was produced for only $5 million. I guess this is an indication of how cheap simple special effects have become. The entire film was shot in Shepperton Studios, where so many other fine films have been shot (e.g. Gosford Park and the whole Beckett on Film project). Sam Rockwell is great in the film, but then he always is. He may well be the best actor of his generation. The fact that he isn’t a star says much about how screwed up the film industry is. But any industry that can produce a film as good as Moon is doing okay.