STARRING: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, Chipo Chung and Mark Strong
A team of international astronauts are sent on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying Sun with a nuclear fission bomb in 2057.
The year is 2057 and the Sun is dying. We follow a crew of eight aboard the spaceship Icarus II carrying a colossal nuclear bomb with the intent of boosting the Sun. As they head towards Mercury’s orbit, they discover a distress beacon of Icarus I, the first ship to attempt their mission which disappeared seven years earlier.
Danny Boyle and Alex Garland team up once more, this time tackling the sci-fi genre that once the project was finished, Boyle vowed to never do another sci-fi film again. Does that mean that Sunshine is bad? Absolutely not! Sunshine takes place in the future, 2057 to be exact, where the Sun is dying, leading to a team of astronauts being sent into space on a mission to restabilise the Sun with an experimental bomb payload. It has taken them sixteen months to get near the Sun but we come in on their final stage of the journey as the fate of mankind rests in their hands.
Visually this may be Danny Boyle’s most striking film yet, balancing the cinematography within the set designs inside the spaceship Icarus II, to the cinematography of the visuals such as the scale/design of the spaceship and the Sun itself. The film worked well for me in how we follow these group of people that are walking the tight rope of holding their own sanity together as the scale of the mission and the odds of returning home become impossible as their lives at held at the mercy of the Sun. The performances are solid, with Chris Evans’ character Mace, striking the fine line of coming off as a dick to putting the needs of the mission over individual lives, including his own. Cillian Murphy is great also as physicist Capa and the supporting performance from the rest of the crew members is also solid. The score from John Murphy is also some of his best work and you only have so see how many times ‘Adagio in D Minor’ and ‘Pt. 2 (Adagio in D Minor)’ has been used in film trailers, television episodes and commercials to see the impact its had. Some of the creative choice from Boyle works well in the story/editing department, such as the use of subliminal images halfway through the film that increases the tension in particular moments.
The film takes a tonal shift in the final act and while I get the reasoning behind it, it personally didn’t work for me as we entered horror territory in a film that felt like it didn’t really require it as it already had me invested in the main arc and the characters. If it changed character usage to say Cliff Curtis’ Searle I may have accepted what happened more . At least the final scenes in the film made it worthwhile to stick with it though.
A film with great visuals that stand up still to this day, really good character performances amongst the cast, particularly Evans and Cillian Murphy, with a great score from John Murphy and though the final act mostly falls flat for me the film is still worth a watch. 7/10