It's save the earth time again, as a group of unfeasibly hot astronauts dare to go... Danny Boyle directs his take on the earth-under-threat scenario in an often gloomy and violent fashion. This time round, it's fifty years from now, and the Sun is on its way out, threatening mass destruction here on earth. Eight sexy astronauts (including Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh and Chris Evans) have been dispatched to the heart of the solar system in a ship called, ominously, the Icarus II - to kickstart the sputtering star. The notion of darkness and the fear it instills is utilized as a scaremongering theme but is alternated with jarring scenes of pure white light when the ship nears its objective. With a few jolts of unexpected terror and a moody soundtrack by Underworld, Boyle tries very hard to make you afraid of the dark again.
You can never accuse director Danny Boyle of lacking ambition. Sunshine
sees one of Britains most successful directors switching genre once more, as he tackles this gripping science fiction flick about a quest to re-ignite the dying sun. And he nails it, too, adding another plus to a CV thats already covered a kids' film (Millions
), a big Hollywood blockbuster (The Beach
), horror (28 Days Later
), and a pair of British classics (Trainspotting
and Shallow Grave
Bursting out of the gate at a terrific pace, Sunshine then doesnt take its foot off the accelerator for much of its near-two hour running time. Set around the crew of the Icarus II who find themselves on a life-saving mission, things soon start going awry, and while youll find no plot spoilers here, Boyle proves a dab hand at ratcheting up tension on the way to the big finale.
If anything, its the finale to Sunshine that does let the side down, not quite living up to the standard of what preceded it. But such is the strength of the ride to that point that its hard to complain. Especially when the cast, led by the always-magnetic Cillian Murphy, put in believable performances and get heavily into the spirit of the film.
Topped off with cracking effects that belie its modest budget, Sunshine is a real treat, not just for sci-fi fans, but for anyone who likes a strong, tense, thrilling night in front of a movie. --Jon Foster