Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sunshine review

Sunshine is an interesting movie. Interesting in the choices it makes. The director for one: Danny Boyle, comes from a very eclectic background, and yet in most ways this film, this genre even, is totally new for him. The cast is also interesting. Cillian Murphy is a mesmerizing actor. And in this film he shines, sorry for the pun but it was just too obvious. Chris Evans as well has finally made a movie where I really not only like him, but was impressed with his acting. I mean good acting. From Chris Evans... Interesting and surprising.

For most of Sunshine it does not feel like we're playing into the typical genre sci fi horror film. The first 2/3 of the film star a small crew on a pretty insane mission: to deliver a bomb and reignite our dying sun. Along the way they have to deal with not just the ever mounting physical pressures, the heat of the sun versus the coldness of space, and the reliance on technology, but also the isolation, and mental impact of this probable suicide mission.

The film works best in the many really beautiful character moments, the inner reflections, landscaped by the amazing visuals of the sun and space. And this is a movie where the effects play a critical role, and the sun becomes a character unto itself; as both a giver of life and harbinger of death. This movie is fantastic at creating an atmosphere and tone. The plausibility can be ignored simply because the writing, direction and acting are so solid. The themes of isolation, and sacrifice work very well as the situation is so dire.

Where this film slips from great to mediocre occurs in the final act. Sunshine jumps from one cliched sci fi horror moment to another. I don't want to give anything away, but I've seen this movie before. We all have. It's nothing new; and that's a real shame. Oh I still think the final act was executed with style, and it was somewhat satisfying to see everything play out. But if this movie had the balls to do something different, to try to break the mold of conventionalism at the end, it could have gone from interesting, to fantastic.

Sunshine has a lot going for it, and ultimately I really enjoyed it. I'm just disappointed that I could feel this film edging into classic, or at least cult classic, territory and then have it just not quite reach it. That said, I do think people should definitely see this film; it is smart, and driven, and well executed. I hope you'll enjoy it.

4 / 5

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