The radical sadness of "Moon"


Nicholas Rombes' continuing series of experimental film writing looks at Duncan Jones' "Moon" @ The Rumpus.
Cinema in the Digital AgeThe radical sadness of Moon. An entire movie starring, for the most part, one actor. Sam Rockwell plays Sam #1, plus Sam #2, plus Sam #3. Sam, working alone on the far side of the moon, watches a video message from his wife and daughter back on earth. Except that he is not really Sam, and his wife is not really alive. But we don’t know this yet, ten minutes into the movie. There is something weirdly cold and formal about his home back on earth. The chair to the right of the frame, lit from above, with a lone framed object above it on the wall, is like something from a museum. And the oddly lit paneled wall behind his wife and daughter, as if they are on a movie set rather than in a home, seems to signal something strange, something not quite right. Is the light to the left of the chair coming from another room in the house, or a door to the outside, and is that a black curtain hanging between the chair and the doorway?The frame reverses the composition of a similar shot from 2001: A Space Odyssey, where Dr. Heywood Floyd also talks to his daughter via videophone. (See Postscript.) Separation. The cold separation of space, and the wonder and terror of the plain technical fact that a signal can shrink distance, so that people millions of miles apart are able to talk with each other, face to screen, disembodied, versions of themselves hurtling through space in signals and more