Review: Sunshine

Danny Boyle is the master of reinvention. I loved “28 Days Later”, because it was a twist on the traditional Zombie flick. I loved his other film “Millions”, because he completely reversed the family style film, and made it into something I’d never seen. With “Sunshine”, I am completely confident in stating that Danny Boyle has taken the dead sci-fi genre and given it a life I haven’t seen in years.

The film takes place in the future, in a time in which the sun has burned out to the point where Earth has entered a long term nuclear winter. Cillian Murphy plays Capa, the physicist who has developed a bomb called the “payload” that is flown by a crew close enough to the sun that will hopefully reignite the star so that the Earth can continue its existence. When I first heard this premise and that the film was coming from Danny Boyle, I knew that I had to see it. The film is, without a doubt, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

The cast is led by the very talented Cillian Murphy who has been popping up all over the place since “28 Days Later.” He is excellent in this film and continues to impress me with every film he’s been in. The rest of the cast is absolutely brilliant. Chris Evans, who has been often disregarded as talented due to his lackluster “Fantastic Four” career is quite admirable in this film, in fact I really enjoyed watching him on the screen. Michelle Yeoh (“Memoirs of a Geisha”) turns out another great performance as does character actor Troy Garity (“Bandits”). The cast works really well together. The team in the film is supposed to have been on this ship for two years and you really feel it. You can feel the friendships as well as the tensions and all the different emotions these people would have toward each other. You also feel the fear of each character. One of the characters named Cassie (played very well by Rose Byrne) tells Capa that every time she sleeps she always has the same horrifying dream: the surface of the sun. The ship’s psychologist Searle (played by Cliff Curtis) is obsessed with the power of the sun and watches it from the observation room to the point where his skin is peeling off.

The film is very well written, a rarity for the sci-fi genre. Alex Garland (who wrote Boyle’s zombie flick) wrote this one and he constructed a very realistic script. Like “Children of Men”, I didn’t have a hard time believing that any of this would happen (with the exception of a few scenes). All of this aside, there were two things that were completely enthralling about this film. The visual effects were some of the best I’ve ever seen in a film. They were so well designed (the use of panels on one side of the ship to divert sun rays was brilliant) and with the addition of an amazing sound design, the film really felt real in the theater. My favorite thing about the movie was definitely the soundtrack. The whole film was infused with rock, opera, and instrumental that really brought everything together. There is a scene in which Cillian Murphy is facing certain death and there is nothing but strings playing and it was more effective than blaring fire noise (although the film is filled with that as well.)

I’d also like to mention Boyle’s use of religion in his films(the church in “28 Days Later”, the entire plot of “Millions”). This film has a religious side to it, with the question of sacrifice of one for humanity. There’s a lot of mention of God especially from one character in particular who I need to talk about in the next paragraph.

The only thing that didn’t thrill me was the villain. Yes, there’s a villain and he comes completely out of the blue. He’s absolutely terrifying but there was so much that built up to him that really made me expect more than just this guy. I don’t want to give too much away about it because it is quite surprising. He left a lot to be desired, and that bugged me.

Other than that one downside, this film was absolutely impeccable. It was exactly the sci-fi film I’ve always wanted to see. It was everything that “Event Horizon” tried to be but it takes the fear of space into an even more horrifying dimension. I can’t wait to revisit it, and I hope they release a soundtrack soon. I recommend this film to anyone, not just fans of sci-fi, because it really entertains while it delivers its completely outstanding story. I give “Sunshine” an:



Filed under Review, Sunshine

11 responses to “Review: Sunshine

  1. Housemate Number Four

    Nice review, completely agree with it. The Villain was a tad ridiculous though.

  2. Josh

    Thank you very much! I also fixed my typo in the first sentence… which is good.

  3. Sean

    I wanted to see it before NOW I need to see it. Thanks for the review Josh.

  4. Costas

    “With “Sunshine”, I am completely confident in stating that Danny Boyle has taken the dead sci-fi genre and given it a life I haven’t seen in years.”

    You have to be effing kidding me right? This is the core except with a far more ridiculous situation. There is about as much science in this film as in the latest Harry Potter movie.

    Our sun currently is burning hydrogen which is why its yeller and tiny like that. But in like 10 billion years it will run out of hydrogen and start burning helium. When it starts burning helium it will enlarge and have a red color to it becoming a red giant. By then our planet and a few others will reside within the sun and cease to exist. Thats a stellar life cycle of a sunlike star.

    So this bomb they use to restart the sun just like in core where they jump started the planet. This bomb would need to be of ridiculous proportions to have any significant impact on the sun. Also it would have to be mostly made of hydrogen to keep the sun burning. The amount of fuel would have to be FAR larger than our planet. By that I mean if we threw something the size of earth into it nothing would happen. Do you know any concentrations of hydrogen within our solar system of that size? I don’t.

    I’m calling bullshit on sunshine. Its a fantasy where elves are real and magic exists.

  5. Josh

    It’s not really a bomb, but a machine that creates a chain reaction of some kind. I don’t think that the film was completely realistic, and I suggest seeing it. It’s much more entertaining and cool that The Core ever wanted to be. I think you would also get a huge kick out of the ridiculous villain.

  6. Sean

    Also i would like to fight the clam that the Sci-Fi genre is dead and/or dieing. In 2006 alone their was Children of Men, V for Vendetta, and A Scanner Darkly. Their is usually one good Sci-Fi movie each year. Sci -Fi fluctuates in popularity but it never completely disappears from the Hollywood scene.

  7. Josh

    I should have been more specific and said the sub-genre of Space Adventure.

  8. Sean

    I have gotten use to a fair be of implausible science in science fiction movies. If the story is solid enough and the acting is good then I don’t mind but “the Core” just suck so it just highlighted the gross inaccuracies.

  9. Anonymous


  10. Anonymous

    If you can take supposedly intelligent, professional, competent people doing stupid, contrived things to advance Alex Alex Garland’s stunted idea of plotting, then “Sunshine” is a good movie. If, like me, you have very little tolerance for such inanity, “Sunshine,” for all its purty F/X, will appear clearly as the big old scoop of idiocy that it is. Garland is an amazingly, blindingly poor writer; here, he took what could have been an amazing adventure and turned it into “Saw: IN SPACE.” An incredible waste of a good cast and solid production values.

  11. Eri

    I liked this movie. A lot. My friend Gabe and I are serving in the Middle-East and we watched it together. We were both just stunned by it. By the concept of the sacrifice involved, which we face in the people we meet over here. We’re in a support capacity, but we are supporting the people who do go out there to maybe die. The fact that when they are all stuck on Icarus 1 and there is only one space suit there was NO question about who was going to go back. Capa was so obviously the only choice and there was no discussion. Ultimate sacrifice. And then being chosen for the mission in the first place. Because you volunteered and had to be psychologically ready to never see anyone you love again. The moral fortitude involved is just mind-blowing to me. I came on this deployment realizing that I might not come back.

    Yes, there are some large plot holes and unbelievable concepts. But it DOESN’T MATTER. I think that this is one of the best Sci-Fi space opera’s in forever. Probably since Aliens. I put it up there with my all time favorites.

    This movie just works on so many levels. I LOVE it.

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