Part of putting together my festival schedule is eliminating those movies which are coming out in regular release relatively soon. Soon has apparently arrived, and first up was Moon, a minimalist scifi film starring Sam Rockwell. To say it stars him is rather an understatement. His closest rival is Kevin Spacey who voices GERTY, a sort of second cousin to HAL.
To say anything more about it is possibly too much. I went in only knowing what I had seen in a trailer — Rockwell’s character is nearing the end of a three year contract at some sort of base on the moon, he is the only person there, and he encounters (or thinks he encounters) himself — and I have found every review today to be upsetting because they tell too much. It’d be an effective film either way, but all the better for experiencing the same confusion as the lead. Also, Rockwell is amazing in it, a performance that will surely be ignored at the end of the year because it appeared in a genre film. That is, frankly, tragic, because he *is* the heart of the film. Without him, who we believe immediately and fully, it would not work at all.
Putting off seeing The Hurt Locker was much more difficult. I’ve been excited to see it ever since it debuted in Toronto last September. Here’s the telling thing: it was worth the wait. It’s probably the best 2009 film I have seen so far, and definitely the best war movie I’ve seen since Three Kings. The two are similar, actually, in how clear the action is. You know where every bullet goes and nothing is without consequence. Intense, authentic, and with a much-lauded (for good reason!) lead performance by Jeremy Renner.