And finally we get to the final film (which was actually the first) of the festival, which I saw way back on July 18th, with Notkate and the Judge (which sounds like some sort of 80's TV cop buddy show).
Moon is based around the character of Sam (played by Sam Rockwell - must have made getting into character easier. In terms of screen time he is the only major character) as he nears the end of his three year shift tending a helium mining facility on the moon. He has spent his three years alone, devoid of physical contact with any other human, companionship provided only by video links with his wife and child, and the ever attendant robot helper (charmingly voiced by Kevin Spacey, and thoughtfully and cleverly constructed as a prop). He has become a little eccentric during his time alone, but his stint is nearly over and he is looking forward to going home. At which point things start happening which suggest he is perhaps not as alone as he has been led to believe...
And thats about all I can say about the plot without giving anything away. The viewer learns more about Sam's situation as he does, and little clues and hints that all is not as it seems abound for the attentive, as well as some nice bits of subtle humour. There are also some nice low key references to classic sci fi films and TV.
Sam's moonbase world was brilliantly realised, grimy and grungy and instantly believable, and pretty much instantly informing the viewer that while Sam is technically an astronaut, he is also an employee with a difficult and tedious job to do, with any glamour long since gone. I enjoyed the use of models for the external scenes rather than CGI (perhaps in homage to classic hard Sci Fi predecessors like 2001). Good model work always looks good, whereas rubbish CGI is like an elephant in the room.
The film is well paced, with key plot points dispensed sparingly and only when necessary (hints aside). Things play out slowly, but not so slowly as to cause loss if interest, with a genuine suspenseful 'what happens now' feel by the end of the second act. Another thing I liked is while the film has some proper points to make, it delivers them simply and effectively, a reflection of the feeling that the film doesn't take itself too seriously.
Recommended for those wanting a low key but engaging and suspenseful watch, executed with intelligence and style.
NotKates summation here (link)
The Judges sermon here (link)