Sunshine (2007)

Film review: Sunshine (2007), directed by Danny Boyle

When I first saw this film, I was wondering what sort of a film it actually is. Is it meant to be sci-fi, a horror story, drama, what? It feels like some sort of peculiar mix between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Event Horizon. Not necessarily a bad thing, except I’ve yet to see a Kubrick film I actually enjoyed watching. (Oh, except for Full Metal Jacket; I seem to remember that being a good film.) They’re in space and it’s fairly slow-paced and then creepy things happen.

More specifically, it’s in the future, the sun is dying, and in order to re-ignite it, a crew is sent to deliver some sort of bomb to it, which (at least in theory) will start a chain of events leading to a less icy planet Earth. Problem is, the Icarus mission goes missing. Back to square one. A second Icarus mission sets out to do the job instead, and somewhere near Mercury, they pick up a signal … Is it possible that the original space ship is still out there?

Director Danny Boyle has put together a great ensemble cast, featuring amongst others Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans (Captain America, not the Radio2 breakfast bloke), Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne (X-Men: First Class), and Mark Strong (Green Lantern). From what I’ve gathered, they did some serious research before the shooting started, and also, everyone’s favourite astronomer – professor Brian Cox – was their science advisor! You can’t go wrong with that, can you?

It’s true that they say, “in space, no one can hear you scream”. This film works because it’s not just sort of creepy with the mysterious goings-on in space and with the previous crew, but there’s also that vast quietness of floating in zero gravity and the danger of the hot sun. It makes it contemplative, and – unlike 2001: A Space Odyssey – NOT boring.

While I’m not keen on Cillian Murphy, I still think he’s a good actor. Am probably more keen on Mark Strong, also a good actor, but why does he keep being cast as The Creepy Guy or The Bad Guy? Has he not got the face to play a nice guy or something? He did Mr. Knightley beautifully, and that’s a very good guy. I wonder if it’s a conscious choice on his part or if he’s being typecast. Maybe he could have a chat with Richard Armitage about it, eh?

Nonetheless, this is a really good film. A good 4 out of 5 dying suns.

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