Duncan Jones' Moon may seem like a harmless little indie film, but it's a real tearjerker.
The goal of this series is to show that being "manly" and being disconnected with your emotions do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. While the approach to these articles is one of comedy and satire, the emotional core of these movies is very valid. Manly movies make guys cry, for example:
This superb independent film, along with Europa Report, shows that intimate low-budget space films can surpass the blockbusters in terms of heart and story. Unless we're talking about Guardians of the Galaxy, cause that's my jam. Sam Rockwell holds the entire film on his own, save for some voice acting by Kevin Spacey -- why not? For every Charlie's Angels Rockwell plops in our collective toilets, he apologizes with films like this. From its highly detailed and plausible aesthetic to the plot that deceptively makes you think everything is routine and mundane, Moon paints a picture that all can appreciate.
It also makes guys cry.
It's deceptive at first, as there are no explosions or Bruce Willis saving the planet, but this is definitely a manly movie. From the artificially intelligent Kevin Spacey-bot to the technical near-future endeavor of harvesting resources from the moon's surface, it walks the line between character drama and technical manual. There's even a brief siege of the compound by space bad guys, which is always approved in my book. This doesn't mean it doesn't make us cry, and in space, no one can hear you cry. Unless, you know, you have a vid-phone.
1. The big twist
Without giving too much away (I'm going to give everything away), Sam Rockwell is actually a series of clones being tricked by a corporation into thinking he's the original. When one dies, another takes his place, and everything is reset to look like the new one's just started his 3 year mission.
The entire weight of the film revolves around Sam discovering this, and realizing that he's not who he thinks he is. Loss of identity is only one of the major ramifications of this realization because...
2. His family has moved on
Due to "communication interference" (sabotage), Sam can only get recorded messages from his family which we then learn were recorded years ago for the original Sam. When Sam makes actual contact with his family he sees that his child is now a full-grown adult, whereas in the videos his wife was still pregnant.
Plus his wife is dead...so there's that whole chestnut.
The more horrifying aspect of that is not that he missed out on the life of his child or death of his wife, but that the real Sam didn't. We hear the original Sam in the background of the live feed, showing that he's been with his family all along and this clone -- or any other clone of him -- doesn't even have a family to reunite with. That's heavy on top of heavy, doc.