Movie Review by Lisa Henshall
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada
Director: Danny Boyle
Intensely stunning, utterly ravishing visuals combined with edge of your seat, teeth-grindingly claustrophobic tension – one of the best sci-fi thrillers in years – can Danny Boyle do no wrong? Well I’ll address that at the end, but for now some more praise for this incredible film…
The visuals reminded me a lot of the first time I saw BLADE RUNNER in that they are so different from anything you’ll have seen to date they will take your breath away. The dying sun at the centre of our galaxy and the centre of the story, as well as the depths of space around it, and not forgetting the incredible ship that the crew are travelling on to carry out their life-threatening mission. It’s all just impossibly beautiful and as I’ve already said utterly ravishing.
But don’t go thinking this is a pretentious SOLARIS-esque film, because it may start slowly but you are soon thrown into some incredible action sequences and you will spend great swathes of the film literally occupying the very edge of your seat. I nearly chewed my knuckles down to the bone in places. The claustrophobic atmosphere at times reminded me of another sci-fi classic ALIEN and Boyle really has learned from Ridley Scott’s mastery of cinematic conventions and he’s thrown in a few of his own for good measure. The characters are well rounded and Boyle has chosen a truly international-looking cast. The pace doesn’t let up throughout and the script is well written and intelligent – they maybe on a mission to save our dying sun but this is not THE CORE.
If you’re going to see SUNSHINE then I really do heartily recommend viewing it on a big cinema screen, you simply can’t see this film on a small portable TV in your bedroom it would just be pointless. If you missed it at the cinema then at the very least persuade someone who has a large plasma/LCD TV to let you watch it at their place – believe me it’s worth it even if you have to befriend that weird neighbour downstairs who smells a bit.
Now there is a reason this film doesn’t have 6 stars – it is not perfect for just one specific reason – in the last 20 minutes of the film it all suddenly goes a bit EVENT HORIZON. That doesn’t stop the tension and excitement but it does distract and what’s more frustrating is that it’s totally unnecessary. I don’t know whether Alex Garland wrote the screenplay that way or whether studio execs put pressure on Boyle to go down that route, but I think Boyle could have easily created another equally tense finale without any of the gory silliness.
That aside, I still absolutely loved this film and if you stay to watch the closing credits, Boyle has cleverly included the key sequences running alongside the credits just to remind you what an utterly amazing film you’ve been watching, in case you were feeling at all perturbed by the finale.