Getting to Know You/rself: The Confrontational Humanism of 'Moon'

Time to add 'Moon' to the "Quarantine Vibes" pile.

Moon Duncan Jones Sam Rockwell
Sony Pictures Classics

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about the interconnecting themes of isolation, marketing, and futility in Duncan Jones’ Moon.


Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve accumulated a handful of films that, for whatever reason, resonate strongly with everything that’s gone on over the course of the last year. For me, this has included unavoidably cabin-feverish films like The Lighthouse, The Shining, and The Thing. I’ve also included psychological spirals like Dead Ringers and The Haunting. Other people undoubtedly have similar mental lists. And thanks to the video essay below, I’ve added another flick to the pile: Duncan Jones’ blue-collar sci-fi film Moon.

Moon follows Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a contract worker who harvests helium-3 from lunar soil, an essential energy source that has all but solved the climate crisis. Bell lives alone on the dark side of Earth’s moon, with only a chirpy AI for company. Bell’s basic needs are met. But his loneliness and isolation are palpable. He does his job, has hobbies, and supplements human contact with pre-recorded video messages. When the other moon-base friendly sneaker finally drops (a twist I won’t spoil here), the terms of Bell’s solitude change and intensify.

The concerns of Moon are specific enough to be both timely and transferable. Two-faced corporations making moves on space is a very real fear. As is the less theoretical concern that Capitalism thinks of labor as being replaceable. And yet, from the vantage point of 2021, well over a year into a global pandemic, it is impossible not to look at Sam Bell’s lonely, contained, human contact-starved life and think, “Ugh, same.” So, in the interest of diving deeper into Moon‘s thematic thumbprint, here’s a video essay that does just that by attending to three of the film’s core concerns: isolation, exploitation, and futility.

Watch “Moon – And There’s Nothing I Can Do“:

Who made this?

Today’s video on Duncan Jones’ Moon comes from Jesse Tribble, an American video essayist and comic book scholar. You can subscribe to Tribble’s channel and check out his back catalog here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.

More Videos Like This

(Senior contributor)

Three toddlers in a trenchcoat. Currently running The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope.