Starring: Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, Cliff Curtis, Mark Strong, Troy Garity
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Written by: Alex Garland
Rating: R Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min
When I saw Sunshine (the movie) a few years ago, I didn’t really care that it was directed by Danny Boyle, and I wasn’t even cognizant of Alex Garland’s talents. I don’t even remember how I came to this film. I know I didn’t rent it, or see it at the theater. So I must have been channel surfing one night and there it was. A film promising hard sci-fi thrills and gorgeous visuals. A beautiful and atmospheric tale about a last-ditch effort to save the planet Earth by restarting the Sun. A story that pits human nature against itself, as its angels of mercy ride a giant bomb through space.
Years later, I felt it was time to revisit Sunshine, and on second viewing, my opinion hasn’t changed.
This is a testament to how good this film is, because my tastes have certainly matured quite a lot over the last few of years blogging about movies. I’ve moved beyond the basic need to be entertained. I need more from my films now. Something new, perhaps even experimental. I want to see directors, writers and actors take risks and care about their art more than box office returns. Skillfully ride that balance between the necessary business component of film making (these things are not cheap to make) and a creator’s vision. Sunshine, I believe, does exactly that, though it does unfortunately include some creature feature slasher nonsense during the third act (an insider tells me this was the studio’s fault).
The vast majority of this film however, delivers visual splendor as it explores the people sent to save the human race. A diverse collection of characters who have become isolated within their own little worlds. The years away from family and friends, causing them to retreat within themselves so that even when the group meet, the barriers between them are clear. A collection of ever shrinking personal bubbles becoming increasingly opaque. Leading to violent outbursts, and science taking second place to delusions of godhood as the team try to comprehend the awesome power of their dying Sun, and their role in its rebirth.
This was new territory for Danny Boyle at the time, but fans of his frenetic style should find this entertaining. This one will appeal more to fans of science fiction. There’s enough cosmic science babble to be a problem for the casual moviegoer uninterested in the final frontier. This film however, does bend and break the laws of physics quite a lot. Considering it more of a spiritual and visual journey, with the occasional bit of geek speak thrown in to make it sound clever.
This film will work best on a theater sized screen. At home a HD screening on a huge TV is your next best option. It would be a mistake to squeeze this visual treat onto a laptop, tablet or phone.
I loved the visual effects shots of the Icarus 2 and its massive convex shaped shield.