Directed by Danny Boyle
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Mark Strong, Rose Byrne, Troy Garity, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cliff Curtis, Benedict Wong
It’s no surprise that my first nominee for the Movie Bucket would be a Sci-fi film. My fascination with space is probably what drives me to see most films in the genre, as they are the closest I’ll ever be to being an astronaut. Sunshine delivers what I believe to be one of the best films in the Sci-fi genre, not only due to its special effects but also its compelling story.
Sunshine takes the tired end-of-the-world story and puts a fresh spin on it. With the world going through another ice age (THANKS DYING SUN), a team of scientists and astronauts must fly a bomb “the size of Manhattan” into the sun and detonate it. The premise alone gives me the heebie-jeebies, but the film delivers plenty more heart-racing moments. There is a good mix of edge-of-your-seat action/tension and drama all wrapped into a well-paced film that gets you in and out before you know it. When I finished Sunshine I couldn’t wait to start it again. It was an easy choice for me to nominate for our Movie Bucket.
The special effects are not over the top, and it never feels like the movie is reaching for something it cannot achieve. More emphasis is placed on the characters than the visuals, which is uncommon for space-related films. The acting and writing is all solid, and there’s never a lull. The main criticism of Sunshine – when it turns into a slasher movie – is unexpected but not necessarily bad. Given the difficult genre for which it was produced, it’s hard to say the filmmaker didn’t achieve something unique.
Danny Boyle’s Sunshine is an example of Sci-fi done right. It’s a quietly intense space thriller with a solid story and a great cast in a believable set-up. The intrigue in this movie carries out from start to finish, as it jumps right into the story line, never skipping a beat, and keeping a steady pace leading up to a curious and certainly unexpected turn over half-way through.
Held together with some pretty impressive set pieces, visual effects, and in a style that resonates Kubrick, Sunshine stands out as one of my favorite Sci-fi movies, especially with what few there are.