With his debut film, Duncan Jones take the science fiction film right back to the era when he was born, in the early ’70s, that is when the genre still had some ideas and social commentary to offer. Moon, about man on a three-year solitary mission to harvest helium3 from the dark side of the moon to be used as an energy back on earth, is homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more obviously Silent Running. But these earlier films were infused with the hippie ethos of the day, especially Silent Running, with Bruce Dern outwitting some robot assistants in order to save an enormous outer space green house, to like, free the trees, man, to the background of a Joan Baez soundtrack. The science fiction aspect just seemed to isolate and underscore the back-to-nature idea.
Moon, about a man and his robot in space, looks a lot like Silent Running, but deals with things on a deeper level. It is not much of a spoiler to reveal this as it is shown in the trailer, but Moon is a cloning, as the worker manning the moon station finds a clone of himself. Sam Rockwell maintains subtle differences to help the viewer keep separate the two clones, one of which is disturbed by the duplicity and the other who takes it in stride. But the film does not dwell long on the ethics of whether cloning is right or wrong. It is not really a sci-fi film about the ethics of science, but is more about emotion. One of the clones is emotionally shattered by the revelation that he is nothing but a clone, and that emotion is reflected in the desolate scale models (no CGI, thank you) of the moon’s surface, and Clint Mansell’s beautiful, melancholic piano score.