It was Glark who first said ‘70s sci fi is all about hexagons. Duncan Jones’ film Moon is all about octagons. Almost every space, structure, aperture has chamfered corners that quote Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and match the Omni magazine fonts of the wall stencils.

There are three spaces in Moon: First, the lunar landscape, which is entirely inhospitable. Second, the lunar work and living space, which is sterile and unheimlich despite its isolated patriarch’s armchair, hobby table and exercise equipment. Third, home and family on Earth, which is seen only through blurry black and white video links. The protagonist is trying to move from the second nested space to the third, but it’s entirely possible he is being gaslit and will never make it. Coffins have chamfered corners too. 

Moon is a triumph of reusing existing elements, including SF tropes and the nearly sole actor. The lunar landscape was built from sand and scale models on a swimming pool sized surface, while the workspace was made of set elements and housewares in Shepperton Studios; see if you can spot the (not chamfered) IKEA cutlery trays.

Although the production is a spiderweb of satisfying intertextuality, it works for non-SF purists as well. I find both 2001 and Solaris nearly illegible, but was sucked into Moon immediately. Now I’m looking for octagons everywhere, rethinking my conviction that a good apartment looks like a high-end office, and generally chewing over this fable for our indentured times. 

Posted on by Diana ben-Aaron
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