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Not-that-trippy 'Moon' still a trip worth taking

Out of all the movies the space drama "Moon" lifts from, I didn't expect "Multiplicity" to be one of them.

It appears this flick, the debut of British filmmaker (and son of David Bowie) Duncan Jones, takes from all the biggies: "2001," "Blade Runner," "Alien," "Silent Running." Jones even hired a few specialists from those movies to give "Moon" a similar isolated, lunar feel. But don't be shocked when you end up thinking less about those flicks and more about that goofy Michael Keaton comedy.

"Moon" tells the story of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), an astronaut about to head home after a lonesome, three-year mission mining Helium-3, Earth's primary source of energy, on the moon. (The only thing keeping him company is the base's well-meaning computer, voiced by none other than Kevin Spacey.) One day, during a routine drive in a lunar rover, he has an almost fatal accident. He awakens to find himself back in the infirmary.

I'm trying my best not to give away too much about this movie. But it is safe to say that, after the accident, Bell talks to himself in more ways than one.

Audiences, especially sci-fi fans, may find it rather surprising how not-that-trippy (and, therefore, not-that-complicated) "Moon" really is. "Moon" eventually becomes more like a grandiose statement on corporate slave labor, with Bell's unfortunate space cowboy fighting with himself (both figuratively and literally) and falling apart at the seams, just as long as it doesn't mess up company workflow.

"Moon" is OK to sit through; Jones gives audiences something I thought I'd never see in this lifetime: Rockwell's most multifaceted, least sleazebaggiest performance to date. As a guy who wants nothing but to see his beautiful wife and daughter, Rockwell has the audience in his back pocket from his very first scene. You root for him even when it seems there is no hope in sight. With Rockwell's taking up most of the movie's space, you get every angle of him, the good and the bad. With Rockwell, you get man at his best -- and his worst.

I can't help but think that "Moon" seems like something of an in-joke between Jones and his old man. After all, didn't Daddy Bowie come up with the archetypal lonely spaceman when he sang about Major Tom in such songs as "Space Oddity" and "Ashes and Ashes"? With "Moon," Jones gives his dad's famous creation another person to talk to, to spar with, to share this spacious galaxy with.

Couldn't you just imagine a new Bowie song featuring those two?

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