Sunshine

Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (2007) is a confusing film in a way: it screws with my emotions so much. One part of it is so intense I’m sweating along with the cast members, one part is thought-provoking, one part visually and auditorily mind-bending – and one part so damn infuriating it makes me hate Boyle’s guts.

Essentially Sunshine is about a team of 8 scientists on a mission to re-ignite the dying Sun by detonating a bomb within it. That plot synopsis alone tells why this film makes hardcore scientists shed tears – despite its heavy attention to detail this is, after all, science fiction. However, it works very well to the film’s advantage because it does fit to the atmosphere of the film and adds to the intensity in its own way. The pseudo-science is hardly the point of Sunshine in any case: it’s an intense, epic journey of soul-searching, humanity and sacrifice. First and foremost, Sunshine should be lauded for its great, colorful characters that are, without exception, unforgettable. In their search of hope and humanity – while trying to remain human under great pressure – psychology plays a heavy deal in the film’s plot and it makes the cast of characters even more tangible.

Boyle’s direction makes it easy to be enthralled by the world. The extreme closeups and grand imagery of the Sun are eye candy. Even more so are the brilliant special effects that are able to shine (pun intended) in the film. Boyle plays around with the visuals both in an interesting (aspect ratios) and frustrating (motion blur) way. The editing, despite its speed and chaotic nature, is rarely obnoxious. What is even more impressive than the visual aspect is the sound design: above all, it is the sound that creates the anxious atmosphere in the movie. In particular, the brilliant soundtrack deserves praise.

The brilliant casting is also vital for the film. Each of them is very good on his/her own, but their interaction as a team is magnificent. Sanada’s performance as the captain is just as striking as Murphy’s physicist and Evans’ tough guy.

So where’s the frustrating part? After the first time I saw the film I simply couldn’t stand the blunt change of the entire film near the end. Now I can see how it brilliantly fits to the themes, but Boyle’s direction during the last 15 minutes is absolutely terrible. He overdoes pretty much every horror trick in the book so grossly it’s not even funny. Despite that the very ending of the film still manages barely to save the film from utter anarchy.

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About Oz
A Finnish film buff who has taken a huge interest in language and Japanese cinema. Can be contacted via email (johlauri@hotmail.com), Twitter (@OzymandiasJL) and a Private Message on EvaGeeks (Oz).

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