Our sun is dying. The Human race faces extinction. The only hope lies in a mission to explode a nuclear device within the heart of our nearest star in the hope of re-igniting it.
This is the premise of Sunshine. The first foray in to Science Fiction for British Director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland. They previously worked together on 28 days later (2002) and The Beach (2000)
The Ship, Icarus II, is attached to a nuclear device that has a mass the size of Manhattan Island. It is manned by a crew of scientists.
Principal among them is Kappa (Cillian Murphy), a physicist finely attuned to the operation’s risk factor. Psychologist Searle (Curtis) is slowly burning to a crisp as he sits on the observation deck, transfixed by the enormity of their target. Mace (Chris Evans) is the muscle of the operation and looks after the ships computer systems.
The Icarus II is the second mission of this type. The Icarus I had mysteriously disappeared 10 years earlier
When a signal is detected that belongs to the Icarus I, this provokes the first philosophical debate of the film. Do the crew alter their course to assist the crew of the icarusI, or do they carry on with their main goal of saving mankind.
This notion of the needs of the few outweighing the needs of the many soon becomes the central theme running through the film as events go from bad to worse as they attempt to save humanity..
So what kind of film has Danny Boyle constructed?
In short, it is one of the best science fiction films of recent years. Boyle has created a perfect blend of vision and music. A film of great emotional power.
The acting by the ensemble cast is exemplary. There are many great scenes that remain in the memory long after the film has finished. From the very first scene where what you think is the sun soon becomes the Icarus2. The repair of the shield sequence is as nail biting and tense as i’ve see in any film all year. And Kappa’s leap from the Iacarus to the Bomb as he attempts to save the planet is truly stunning.
The pacing and editing is truly masterful.
The only downside is the rather contrite and confusing last act, which descends the film to the level of a slasher flick. But by then you are so absorbed in to the world Boyle has created that this is a mere triviality.
The haunting Musical score by Underworlds John Murphy adds gravitas to the scenes.It is ironic that this great score is not yet available to purchase due to disagreements between Murphy and the studio.
Sunshine will stand alongside 2001 a space odyssey and Star Wars as one of the truly great Sci Fi films.
Well done Mr. Boyle, you did good.