In the ostensibly unending plethora of sci-fi films, more specifically space movies, there are few real gems like the 2007 Danny Boyle directed epic, Sunshine. Much like space movies before it, Sunshine creates a hyper-realistic environment set in the world of science and yet what transpires is virtually impossible. But as any fan of sci-fi knows, in order to appreciate the genre you have to suspend quite a bit of disbelief, and Sunshine is no exception. This is, in my opinion, one of the classic space movies that shouldn’t be missed. And any fan of Danny Boyle knows that he is more than capable of bringing plenty of weird and bizarre elements to every story he gets ahold of.
One of my favorite fundamental themes of many space films is isolation. No matter if the mission is going well or is falling apart at a breakneck speed, that underlying feeling of being far from any kind of help is always there, constantly creating a sense of peril and finality. No one can help but the characters stuck in the situation and often even they can’t always solve the obstacle facing them. Another favorite, and similar, theme to isolation, when it comes to these kinds of movies, is confinement. Now, based on my experiences I am not claustrophobic but still, the small spaces, the living quarters, the space suits, everything about their environment is small and with very little wriggle room. This creates even more feelings of unease and claustrophobia that, again, emanate throughout the entire run time. These to me are must haves for creating a successfully entertaining and lasting space movie and in my opinion, Sunshine works these things into the story perfectly.
Fifty years in the future mankind relies on a team of astronauts that will become their last hope for survival. Knowing that our sun is dying, a plan has been hatched to re-ignite the failing star back to life. But as in most areas of life, it’s easier said than done. One single decision to deviate from the plan creates a domino effect that ultimately threatens the mission and Earth itself. With every solution found, a new problem seems to arise that is far worse and far more detrimental to life as we know it. Quite literally everything hangs in the balance and as the moment for execution nears, the possibility of success becomes less and less likely.
As I mentioned before, Boyle has a tendency for the odd, and in the final act this tendency comes into full view. I won’t state specifically what happens but just know that the tone of the film diverges from its original trajectory into the genre of sci-fi/horror. The movie can be violent and bloody at times, and peaceful and majestic at others. All these elements create the environment these characters must trek in order to complete their mission. A theme in this film is the idea of the many vs. the few. Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and every time this question is at the forefront they decide that yes, the many, i.e. Earth, should always come first. It’s in these decisions that tension forms and relationships are tested.
As the film nears its end, anarchy reigns all around and it makes for some very exciting, tension filled cinema. This is classic and underrated and one of Boyle’s best films. The characters aren’t the most fleshed out but I think the story works better that way as they themselves know that they are, in the spectrum of things, unimportant and therefore their background information isn’t pertinent to the overall story. It’s very futuristic but doesn’t lose the human element and because of this you care about what is happening. If you love sci-fi I don’t know why you haven’t seen this yet, but if you haven’t, definitely give Sunshine a chance.
Rated R For: violent content and language
Run Time: 107 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Mark Strong
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
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