Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Moon" / Dirty Protest

In an era where science-fiction films seem to focus on blowing stuff up, to the exclusion of deeper concerns, Duncan Jones’ “Moon” is a welcome throwback to the days of philosophically-oriented space-operas (cf “Dark Star”, “Silent Running”). Sam Rockwell gives a beautiful couple of performances as a lunar mining operative who discovers that he may have companions other than a Kevin Spacey-voiced computer on his three-year posting. It looks variously grimy and sumptuous, with some clever visual jokes (I especially liked the smiley faces), and the bulk of the SFX budget obviously went on allowing Rockwell to act opposite himself. It doesn’t have as much to say about the trauma of Sam’s identity crisis as one might expect, and the straight-from-the-Hollywood-screenwriting-manual “ticking clock” introduced towards the end is vaguely irritating, but Spacey’s trademark sinisterness is cleverly exploited, and Jones does manage to avoid the seemingly inevitable nihilistic conclusion. No Bowie on the soundtrack, but excellent use of Mozart.

Another Dirty Protest in the yurt at Milgi in Cardiff this week; another stellar list of local dramatists – Tracy Spottiswoode, Angharad Devonald, Jon Tregenna, Catrin Clarke, and Helen Griffin alongside cherry-popper Jamie Rees; another double sell-out of short plays directed by Steve Fisher and Lee Haven Jones. Curator Roger Williams asked the writers for pieces inspired by songs - he also banned monologues, and restricted the length of playlets to less than seven minutes, which was good news for my knees. As usual, the actors - Crisian Emmanuel, Gareth Pierce, Iola Hughes and regular Lee Mengo - were excellent, and the debuting Rees must be congratulated in that his piece blended well with the work of the more experienced wordsmiths, all of whose pieces cleverly balanced humour with pathos, with the exception of the Tony Blair/David Kelly sketch which, to me, seemed overly unsubtle. On the plus side, it was good to be reminded of Martin Grech’s “Open Heart Zoo”.


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