Home > Reviews > MOON – Clint Mansell

MOON – Clint Mansell

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An existential sci-fi drama written and directed by Duncan Jones (formerly known as Zowie Bowie, and son of rock icon David Bowie), Moon stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, an employee of Lunar Industries who is coming to the end of his three year stint working at a gas production facility on the moon. As the sole employee of the lunar station, and with limited communication possible with Earth, Sam spends most of his time conversing with GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), an intelligent super-computer programmed to attend to his needs. However, after Sam is knocked unconscious in accident, he awakens to find that he is no longer alone on the moon, and slowly begins to realize that his world is not what he thought it was.

The music for Moon is by the increasingly popular English composer Clint Mansell, who over the past few years has attracted positive press and numerous fans for his work with director Darren Aronofsky on scores such as The Fountain and The Wrestler. I have never bought into the hype about Mansell, having consistently found his music to be cold, mechanical, themeless, ambient nightmares which stand completely at odds with everything I love bout film music. Unfortunately, Moon is much of the same. Predominantly electronic with occasional interludes from a solo piano or a small string ensemble, the Moon scores groans and whines its way through 55 interminable minutes, with virtually no redeeming qualities; it was all I could do to sit through this score a couple of times to write this review.

The one track of note is “Memories (Someone We’ll Never Know)”, in which Mansell writes a simple piano theme filled with soothing chords which, despite remaining on the austere side, is a major improvement over pretty much everything else on the score. When it picks up a solo cello accompaniment in the second half of the cue, the effect is quite pretty. There are a few other moments in which Mansell introduces the piano; in the opening “Welcome to Lunar Industries”, and later in “We’re Not Programs, GERTY, We’re People” for example, the piano acts as a kind of recurring metronome. There is also an unusual, dreamlike music-box theme in “The Nursery” that is unexpected.

However, for the most part, the score is a nightmare, a thematic wasteland that just drones on and on, offering virtually no melody, no harmony, and nothing remotely tangible with which to connect.

Rating: *

Track Listing:

  • Welcome to Lunar Industries (7:12)
  • Two Weeks and Counting (2:00)
  • I’m Sam Bell (3:44)
  • I’m Sam Bell, Too… (5:05)
  • Memories (Someone We’ll Never Know) (4:52)
  • Are You Receiving? (3:17)
  • Can’t Get There From Here (3:17)
  • We’re Not Programs, GERTY, We’re People (5:10)
  • The Nursery (3:45)
  • Sacrifice (3:03)
  • We’re Going Home (3:41)
  • Welcome to Lunar Industries (Three Years Stretch…) (10:04)

Track Listing: 55 minutes 10 seconds

Black Records CMCD001 (2009)

  1. martina
    April 26, 2014 at 11:28 am

    interesting you should say it’s cold. i don’t find the score cold, but i find it neutral. i’m often finding myself overwhelmed with emotionality with music in films. like, they just have to make it obvious. i’m often returning to mansell because of how it is music. i’ve listened to the moon soundtrack a lot by itself.

  2. Tushar Musale
    May 9, 2020 at 12:52 am

    I happened to enjoy the melancholy of Mansell’s score moon as well, its a sense of loneliness that it brings me, maybe its just the movie but memories brings back well memories.

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