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There is little doubt that Danny Boyle is one of the most visionary directors working in motion pictures today. He has his own distinctive style that crosses all genres and leaves no arena of creativity untapped. "Trainspotting" thrust him onto the scene with style and purpose, and it turned him into somewhat of a 'golden child' for a time. His follow up, "A Life Less Ordinary", was a bit of a disappointment, as was "The Beach", which was obliterated by critics and underperformed at the box office. His saving grace came in the form of a vicious little zombie film called "28 Days Later", which critics loved and fans worshiped. The film was a huge box office success, helped revitalize the zombie genre and turned Danny Boyle back into the sensation he once was. His next film, "Millions", was just as remarkable - one of the most visual family films ever made and one of the true gems of its year. "Sunshine" is his latest film, as Boyle journeys into science fiction territory with a film based on a script by Alex Garland, who penned "28 Days Later". Boyle seems be back on track with his filmmaking, and "Sunshine" his make or break picture.
Set a mere 50-years into the future, "Sunshine" tells the story of the crew of the Icharus II, a vessel in space that has been sent on a mission very different from one you've heard before. The sun is dying and Earth is trapped in a solar Winter. The Icharus I was sent to the sun to deliver a payload of explosives that was said to have re-ignited it. However, the Icharus I went missing. Seven years later, the Icharus II has been dispatched for the very same reason. A crew of eight run the ship, including physicist Capa (Cillian Murphy), psych officer Searle (Cliff Curtis), botanist Corazon (Michelle Yeoh), pilot Cassie (Rose Byrne), numbers man Trey (Benedict Wong), maintenance man Mace (Chris Evans), second in command Harvey (Troy Garity) and the Captain (Hiroyuki Sanada). Since the entire theory behind their mission is based on probability and possibility, they have no idea whether or not it will work, or whether or not they will return home. They are all dealing with the very real possibility that they will die in space. As they near their destination, however, they receive a distress beacon from the missing Icharus I are decide to make a detour to salvage whatever they can from the previous vessel. This is what sends the crew of the Icharus II down a very bizarre and unexpected road. This is when the film switches gears and "Sunshine" becomes bedazzling.
The visuals here are nothing short of stunning - the best visuals of the year and some of the best of Danny Boyle's career. This is a science fiction masterpiece on the visual level and Boyle's way of shooting the sun makes you feel the heat and the power of this magnificent star. The visual effects of the Icharus II are also very spectacular and seem to far ahead of what the budget for this film probably was. But Boyle has a way of making the most bang for his buck and it is on display for all to see in "Sunshine". Boyle knows what makes a good science fiction film work and he's taken aspects of "Alien", "Blade Runner", "Event Horizon" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" and blended them all together for one hell of a cinematic ride. Screenwriter Alex Garland has penned a story that, at the center, is about human beings accepting responsibility for their own actions and taking on the burden of having to think about everyone but themselves. The crew of the Icharus II are doing what they are doing to save all of mankind, and their selfishness can't figure into the equation. This film is about ordinary people trying their best to do something extraordinary. And the 'twist' to the film is one of the best I've seen, introducing us to one of the creepiest and insanely powerful villains in cinematic history. Boyle throws it at us, and boy does it make an impact.
The performances in the first few minutes of the film are a far cry from the performances towards the end of the film. The film does start off a little wooden and a little cliched, but it quickly gets past all that. Cillian Murphy is in fine form, as always, as Robert Capa. His character is not really developed as well as some of the others, but none of the characters are really explored with any great depth. Chris Evans provides his best performance to date as Mace, who basically knows what his job is and wants to do it, regardless of what anyone else says. Rose Byrne also turns in the best performance of her career as Cassie. Michelle Yeoh is wonderful, as always, in her role as the most logical thinker on the ship. Cliff Curtis turns in another great supporting performance and also gets the best exit in the entire film. Mark Strong steals the show in a role that will jump out and grab you - the role you'll leave the theatre remembering. So, basically, there isn't a weak link in the entire chain. Some of the characters are richer and better developed, but the others don't have to be for the purpose they serve. "Sunshine" is more about what these characters are doing than why they are doing it, and some times that is enough.
There hasn't been a science fiction film to entertain me this much since "Serenity", and even it was a different kind of entertainment. "Sunshine" is an artsy film that feels like a big budget science fiction epic. It feels like Ingmar Bergman by way of Robert Zemeckis. Danny Boyle just has this way of making his visuals so powerful, and I have to appreciate and applaud that. But, don't go into "Sunshine" expecting solely what the trailers would have you expect. "Sunshine" gives a couple of nice little plot twists that send the film in an off direction. We don't really know what's happening, but we know it's something by the way Danny Boyle presents it. "Sunshine" is one of the best films of 2007, an underrated film that should be discovered by mass audiences, and the perfect example of why "Event Horizon" was never given its due. "Sunshine" doesn't steal from it, but it certainly borrows some aspects. Both are fine films. "Sunshine" is finer.
- added 04/03/2009, 03:36 PM
I didn't even know this was reviewed on here...
well, this is one of my favorite movies. I love
- added 07/24/2009, 04:23 PM
I was loving this movie. Right up until the very
end. Don't want to spoil it for anyone, but
there's a sort of twist near the end, and it
completely ruined it for me. It was unnecessary,
unbelievable, and disappointing. Aside from that,
movie was flawless. Good characters, good
storyline, good score, and of course, Boyle's
fantastic visual. Aside from those last few
minutes, this was a perfect movie.
- added 11/02/2010, 01:06 AM
One of my favorite Science Fiction films of
I knew from the opening few
scenes that I'd be picking it up on Blu-Ray as
soon as it was released.
example of how the right soundtrack can completely
transform an already compelling movie into a truly
Regardless of your
feelings about the unusual ending elements, you
can't deny that the piece is beautifully shot and
compellingly told... another winner from Mr.
Truly worth your time if you
enjoy character driven Sci-Fi.
short and sweet of it... in my humble opinion,