I remember the first time I saw Sam Rockwell in a film. It was 1996's Box of Moonlight, a quirky, rather whimsical little indie film that I watched because Catherine Keener was in it and I was in love with her from Walking and Talking. Unfortunately the film was a little too quirky for its own good, but Sam Rockwell was absolutely charming and adorable in it. I now had my eye on him and I've kept my eye on him all these years. He has continually done excellent work in a wide variety of films but none of them have ever thrust him into the mainstream.
I'm hoping that could change with Moon. Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a lunar employee who is working a three year solitary contract harvesting a precious resource on the far side of the moon. His only companion is the station's computer Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey). As he nears the end of his contract, only weeks away from going home to Earth and his waiting wife and child, he gets in an accident in his lunar vehicle. He wakes up in the station's infirmary with Gerty hovering over him and as soon as he is able goes out to inspect the sight of the accident only to find a man still inside the vehicle barely alive: himself. Sam Rockwell's dual performance is brave and authentic and acted with the utmost nerve and audacity. Acting opposite yourself in such a tense and dramatic film has got to be one of the ultimate challenges as an actor and Rockwell pulls it off with aplomb. I was not surprised to learn that the role was written with him in mind. He was so suited to it. I hope Hollywood will finally sit up and take notice of him.
Equally impressive is first time director Duncan Jones. He pays perfect homage to sci fi films of the past like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Blade Runner, and even Dune. The film looks amazing, reminds you of all the best elements of those past films and yet still feels refreshingly new and unique. I eagerly look forward to what he will do in the future.