MOON | London, Barbican

It was a privilege to hear London Contemporary Orchestra play composer Clint Mansell’s score of cult sci-fi film Moon during a world premiere screening to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. “Still to this day I think it’s the best script I’ve ever read. All about isolation, loneliness, being on your own and what it is to be human,” Mansell told the audience at London’s Barbican on Friday July 19th.

This inimitable English musician and Golden Globe and Grammy nominated film composer, who’s worked extensively with film director Darren Aronofsky, didn’t think twice about taking on Duncan Jones’s low budget debut feature in 2009 that was BAFTA nominated.

It is easy to see why. It was difficult to pull your eyes away from the gripping story of Sam Bell (played by Sam Rockwell) nearing the end of a three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the moon to help earth’s depleted resources and haunted by memories of his past. Rockwell’s understated brooding performance beautifully captured man’s cosmic scream of loneliness. “It was a collaborative enterprise. The script, the design, the direction, the performances. The music was the final piece of the jigsaw,” said Clint, smashing the myth of the lone artist in the garret.

And hearing this orchestra play a live rendition of this evocative score made one realise what a huge collaborative effort goes into making a film. Pulsing drum beats kept the tension high throughout, while repetitive piano solos and discordant sound effects complemented the eerie intergalactic deep space feel of the movie. The opening track Welcome To Lunar Industries, named after the company Sam works for, showed off Mansell’s industrial rock and classical pedigree. His score expertly communicated the film’s main theme of man’s existential struggle for connection and love. But Mansell had no such problem – bringing this audience to their feet to give conductor Matt Dunkley and the 31-strong orchestra, a well-deserved standing ovation.

 

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