Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Set in the future, scientists are forced to plan a second mission to the sun in order to restart it. Through some science that doesn't quite make sense we learn that a massive warhead is needed to get it going again. A crew of 7 with various jobs is assembled. The important ones are Capa (Cillian Murphy) the payload specialist, Mace (Chris Evans), Cassie (Rose Byrne...God I love just saying her name) the pilot, and Searle (Cliff Curtis) the doc.
Obviously, the first mission didn't succeed so that is bound to be brought up. Just when and how provide some of the meat of the plot for the rest of Sunshine. Unfortunately, Sunshine falls in line with most other space movies with their themes of rebellion and isolation so nothing truly seems a surprise. The two things that set this film apart from others are the outstanding visuals and the strong work of the cast.
Director Danny Boyle again has shown a flair for putting on the screen a tremondous vision. 28 Days Later and Trainspotting both showed off his eye for the shot. Here you get some majestic shots of the sun as the Icarus (the ship) makes its way closer to the star. Later on when you get a full view of the areas around the payload, you truly get an overwhelming sense of scale.
One thing I do have to say is that with great trepidation do I have to give props to Chris Evans for giving a subtle, yet powerful performance. Til now Evans is mostly known for the craptastic Fantastic Four films, but here you get a hint that he could do much more. Cillian Murphy and Rose Byrne have a nice interplay that isn't given a chance to fully play out. And finally I know Cliff Curtis's names... this guy was absolutely terrific in 3 Kings as well as performances in Fracture, Live Free or Die Hard, Training Day, Deep Rising (yeah I went there), and many more. Cliff is definitely in my "that guy" hall of fame. Anyway, he is solid here as the doc that seems to be the one character that gives his role a sense of humanity. That picture in the post would be of him.
I did have some issues with something that happens in the third act that left me wanting more of an explanation. You have to go along with it at the time, but later on you might be left wondering. Sunshine does manage to distinguish itself from other space dramas, although whether or not it is remembered in years to come will be the question.