Our sun is dying and a major payload has to be delivered to create a star within a star and save planet Earth – that’s the intriguing premise that we’re told about at the beginning of Sunshine, a superb sci-fi movie from the masterful genre-hopper Danny Boyle.
What we have here is a standard tale of people trying to deal with the isolation and constriction of being stuck in a spacecraft (even such a LARGE spacecraft) for such a long time. Any problems that occur have to be dealt with quickly and efficiently before things are made much worse by the ever-present threat from the deadly force of the sun. There’s also the added little fact that this is the second craft sent up to attempt this, the first craft seemingly disappeared.
The cast of people on board this spacecraft include Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne,Michelle Yeoh, Troy Garity, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong and Cliff Curtis. A great bunch of actors playing a great bunch of characters. You may not, for example, initially like the character played by Chris Evans but as the movie unfolds you see him as someone simply opting for anything that ensures the success of the mission, which takes precedence over individual lives and considerations.
The script by Alex Garland is a pretty good one. There aren’t really many lines of dialogue that stand out (though a few certainly do) but technical stuff is coveyed quickly and without boring everyone, characters are well sketched and the dilemmas, problem-solving moments and big ideas that the movie has are all nicely done.
Danny Boyle has yet to make a movie that I dislike and this is yet another success in yet another genre he has decided to tackle. The special effects are superb, the technical side of the movie convinces even if it’s not actually viable (I actually don’t know how factually accurate the film is but there’s plenty of interesting material on the DVD I have yet to explore) and the whole thing mixes the practicalities of life in a dangerous part of space with ideas about the bigger picture and just how people can change when taken to an extreme environment unlike anything previously encountered.
Rewatching Sunshine has allowed me to sit back and notice the flaws. Plenty people have complained about the second half of the movie. The tone changes and, perhaps more importantly, so does the camerawork with quick editing and deliberate blurriness being used to convey one particular character. Personally, I don’t mind the slight change in tone but I have to admit that the camerawork in the latter half of the film can become quite irritating at times. Yet I still love the film, despite this big flaw. It nicely blends in some rip-roaring entertainment with smart ideas and brainfood that will keep you pondering long after the credits have rolled.
A superb modern sci-fi film.
DIRECTOR: DANNY BOYLE
WRITER: ALEX GARLAND
STARS: CILLIAN MURPHY, ROSE BYRNE, MICHELLE YEOH, CHRIS EVANS, MARK STRONG, CLIFF CURTIS, TROY GARITY, HIROYUKI SANADA, BENEDICT WONG
RUNTIME: 107 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: UK, USA