There are not many “hard” science fiction movies done right and by done right I mean that the science was relatively good and that the movie wasn’t too commercial or pandering. Sunshine is one of those movies, with its gloomy atmosphere, phenomenal acting and great dialogue. There are no sex scenes, romantic sub-plots or family values here, just the mission and scientists fully aware of its gravity and their responsibility (did someone say Interstellar or Supernova). Directed by Danny Boyle, best known for his work on Trainspotting and written by Alex Garland, who worked with Danny on The Beach and 28 Days Later, Sunshine is a little slower movie, without much action. It’s not Blade Runner 2049 slow and if you like this style I’m sure that it will seem much faster than it actually is, but you should be aware that its main sources of inspiration were 2001: A Space Odessey, Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Alien, which explains a lot. I would also add Event Horizon as a movie reference (unavoidable, here at Rabbit Reviews), just so you know what type of movie we are talking about. Special effects were phenomenal and the movie looks really great. The Ship looks authentic and like something we might actually send to this sort of mission. This contributes immensely to that claustrophobic feeling that starts swelling up in your stomach as soon as the movie starts. Increasing tension and engaging storytelling created one hell of an atmosphere, making Sunshine one of those movies that will stay with you after you finished watching it.
It is the year of our lord Satan 2056 and Earth is slowly freezing as our Sun is not so slowly dying and not emitting enough heat to sustain the conditions for life. This happened because a Q-ball collided with Sun and started eating from inside. Our only hope is to reignite the Sun with a massive explosion. To do this, eight brave astronauts aboard the spaceship Icarus II will have to travel dangerously close to the Sun and deliver a huge nuclear bomb…
It’s no wonder that the movie feels and looks authentic when the scientific consultant was none other than Brian Cox, professor of particle physics who was also involved in a number of documentaries about space. If you want to hear an uplifting talk about the universe and practically everything else, check out this Joe Rogan podcast, it was truly captivating and it changed the way I look at certain things. He clarified how the sun could actually “die” and all the rest of the scientific stuff present in this movie. Cillian Murphy looks like him and he actually tried to mimic some of his mannerisms with great success. I also have to say that the entire cast of Sunshine was just perfect, from Cliff Curtis to Rose Byrne, Benedict Wong, Mark Strong and Michelle Yeoh. Not to mention Chris Evans who blew me away here, showing just how talented he really is, similar to his efforts in Snowpiercer. Alas, there had to be something and that something is the final act of the movie, where the story starts to get a bit incoherent but still manages to finish relatively strongly. It feels like they tried to pull off too many things at once after focusing on only a couple of elements in the rest of the movie. This is the thing that separates Sunshine from perfection, but it’s still a cult classic, at least in my opinion and especially when compared to your average science fiction releases of the past few years.
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Benedict Wong, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michelle Yeoh, Mark Strong