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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.51%
Worth A Look55.13%
Average: 12.82%
Pretty Bad: 8.97%
Total Crap: 2.56%

7 reviews, 36 user ratings

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Sunshine (2007)
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by brianorndorf

"Danny Boyle really likes other sci-fi movies"
4 stars

Danny Boyle’s lush take on “2001” and “Dark Star” is a visually arresting slab of sci-fi that accomplishes its directive to be environmentally haunting; at the same time, it contains touchingly serene moments of space adventure that many filmmakers wouldn’t go near. It’s a baffling bouillabaisse of moods and fears, but it’s a persuasive creation, most confident when it isn’t being pressed for answers.

It’s the future, and the sun is dying. Earth has sent the spaceship “Icarus II” into the heavens with a bomb attached the size of Manhattan. The objective is to unload the weapon into the scorching heart of the sun and restart the solar factory again. Onboard this ship is a bevy of scientists and astronauts (including Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, and Chris Evans) committed to carrying out this massive effort to preserve humanity. However, once the now derelict “Icarus I” is located near the surface, decisions are made and actions taken that could prevent the completion of this critical mission.

What I embraced so much about “Sunshine” was its awe of space voyage. Director Boyle and screenwriting partner Alex Garland have done their homework in the sci-fi field with this picture, paying homage to the great pastoral starfields and visual eloquence of “2001” and the mind-shredding claustrophobia of “Alien.” It’s a grab bag of many film classics, yet it remains a hauntingly original creation soaked in its own creative and spiritual juices. It’s a challenging picture perhaps best suited for audiences who enjoy the stillness and psychological grip of space travel; a sci-fi creation leaning more toward science than fiction. At least for about 80 minutes.

Boyle pays careful attention to the fury of sun and the luminosity that comes with such a massive, glowing center of power. For some onboard the “Icarus II” the sun is a creation to be in awe of. For others, it’s one to fear and respect. “Sunshine” uses the spectacular unpredictability of nature and space as a backdrop for many of the film’s fingernail-chewing suspense sequences, while also creating a punishing, discomforting reality with the sun’s slow death. While primarily an examination of twitchy space crew mentality during unspeakable conflict, “Sunshine” leaves plenty of breathing room for tension, as the ship encounters innumerable problems on the way to its destiny.

Boyle is a crackerjack visual stylist, and “Sunshine” is probably his finest work, enjoying the solemn beauty of the “Icarus II” as it slowly pushes through the universe. This is a very dark picture, which is brilliantly contrasted with the overwhelming, lethal brightness of the sun and surrounding orbit. Boyle dances between the lighting schemes, using the shadow for purposes of terror, and utilizing the light to remind the audience that no matter the concern, there is a definitive end point to this mission worthy of wonder and fear. Boyle isn’t Kubrick, but he treats the haunting uncertainty of space in much the same manner.

The third act of the film steals “Sunshine” away from mystery to a place far more familiar. An unexpected crew member is suddenly accounted for on the ship, leading to a series of events that hold the faint stank of “Event Horizon.” It pulls “Sunshine” away from hopes that Boyle will challenge himself even further with a complicated, yet neutral conclusion. I wasn’t taken out of the conflict with this slippery switch of direction, but I certainly express some disappointment that Boyle and Garland surrendered their inventive film to the labor of third-act “twist,” instead of having the bravery to allow “Sunshine” to end as gracefully as it began.

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originally posted: 07/20/07 16:38:40
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User Comments

12/25/14 Langano Laughable. 2 stars
5/04/11 the dork knight A bit chaotic in the third act, as mentia takes hold. I got lost. 4 stars
9/17/09 Silkworm Very atmospheric and arty - story a bit predictable 4 stars
7/14/09 Abhishek Chakraborty The users who've commented are right. The first 2/3 makes it awesome. bear with the rest 5 stars
1/14/09 Shaun Wallner Kept me on the edge of the seat! 4 stars
1/02/09 Jq Phenomenal sci-fi film. One of the best movies of the 2000s. 5 stars
10/21/08 David Hollands Borderline retarded. Boyle proves he has as much storytelling intelligence as my pet rock. 2 stars
9/04/08 Charles Tatum Familiar, but done to perfection 5 stars
8/28/08 mr.mike Agree with SJ,Chris and Ivana...unfortunately they're right. 4 stars
3/07/08 NWANKWO OK Best scientific adventure film,if the scene can happen in real life. 5 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Intelligent, atmospheric chiller. Too bad the ending sucked ass...could've been perfect! 4 stars
2/02/08 Chris Fantastic film up to the last 25 minutes. 4 stars
1/27/08 SJ Great for 2/3 of movie. Falls apart after that. Too bad!!! 4 stars
1/24/08 Rick Good first 2/3. Rest was rather mundane "slasher" type movie that negated the merits of th 2 stars
1/22/08 gcc great visuals/direction.But very much like Event Horizon 4 stars
1/21/08 Brian Mckay Gorgeous and stunning Sci-Fi epic. One of the best films that nobody saw in 'O7 4 stars
1/12/08 Servo Freaking awsome, smart, suspensful and just gorgeous to look at. 4 stars
1/02/08 MickJ interesting premise, ruined by one dimensional characters and horror. 2 stars
12/10/07 aleta great movie 5 stars
12/04/07 Matt Goes off the rails with a daft subplot in the last 30 mins or so. Good, otherwise. 3 stars
11/15/07 Alice If I want to see video clips, I'll watch MTV 1 stars
10/17/07 Will Brilliant. 5 stars
10/08/07 steve newman A remarkable twist after one hour - woul dhave been better to leave same pace - still go se 4 stars
9/11/07 damalc Alien + 2001 + Altered States 4 stars
9/09/07 daveyt enjoyable, but couldn't help feeling I'd seen it all before 3 stars
9/08/07 Chris J. Truely impressive film, despite 3rd act being slightly disjointed. 5 Stars. 5 stars
8/12/07 Gary G started out verey interesting, but the last 20 minutes or so were way too confusing 3 stars
8/11/07 Eric The best sci-fi adventure in years. Fantastic movie. 5 stars
8/07/07 Private Filmmaking surpassed the story. But some impressive scenes. 4 stars
8/01/07 SciFi All the science, and none of the fiction. Ultimately many failed opportunities. 2 stars
7/31/07 Vagile A truly gorgeous film 5 stars
7/30/07 Crispin Some stumbles but it has more than enough to pull it through to the end. 5 stars
7/29/07 Elizabeth S Starts off so promisingly, but totally blows the third act. 2 stars
7/28/07 Ole Man Bourbon Event Horizon Part Deux 3 stars
7/20/07 Doug What a mess. Pretentious clap-trap AND a haunted-house slaughter. No, thanks. 1 stars
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  20-Jul-2007 (R)
  DVD: 08-Jan-2008

  05-Apr-2007 (15)

  12-Apr-2007 (M)

[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Danny Boyle

Written by
  Alex Garland

  Rose Byrne
  Cliff Curtis
  Cillian Murphy
  Chris Evans
  Troy Garity
  Michelle Yeoh
  Benedict Wong

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