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Blog // Thoughts
April 18, 2007

Sunshine

The main challenge for any Science Fiction film, especially one set in the future, is to create a plausible alternative universe. It doesn’t have to conform to our lived reality, but it must seem real within the confines of the film’s narrative, allowing us to enter that world for the duration of the movie. When […]

The main challenge for any Science Fiction film, especially one set in the future, is to create a plausible alternative universe. It doesn’t have to conform to our lived reality, but it must seem real within the confines of the film’s narrative, allowing us to enter that world for the duration of the movie.

When I first saw the shorts for Sunshine I was highly skeptical that the film would be able to sustain that sort of plausiblility. Despite the presence of Cillian Murphy, who to me is one of the most exiting young actors in film, what the trailer revealed looked cliched, derivative and unlikely to sustain my interest.

But upon closer inspection it seemed the trailer may have been selling the film short. Director, Danny Boyle has had a mixed career, but in 28 Days Later produced one of the most compelling recent works in Sci-Fi (the writer of that film, Alex Garland, has also written Sunshine). Cinematographer, Alwin K?ºchler certainly has an eye for human drama, having worked on Proof and Morven Callar. Finally, John Murphy created the score – one of the leading Film composers in the UK today.

Thankfully, my initial skepticism proved unfounded. Sunshine is a rewarding, visually enthralling film that despite it’s many nods and borrwings from exisiting Sci-Fi (Solaris, 2001, Dark Star, Saturn, The Abyss) has carved it’s own niche with some truely memorable scenes and plot-twists. There’s an attention to detail that intitially makes you feel like you’ve been immersed in a well worn older style of Sci-Fi (pre Star Wars), but with each act reveals new ideas, tensions and aesthetics. This is not a great film, but it is an intelligent one.

Not that one needs a complex knowledge of physics of philosophy of time is required to understand the plot. If anything, the real tension comes not from space, but fropm with the human pysche and the tensions of high-pressure teamwork over an extended period of time. Sunshine is a, gritty, human story of the challenges of heroism and service. In a lot of ways Sunshine is more of a war morality tale wrapped up in science fiction clothing – lots of sacrifice, utilitarism and rational calculation. The cast is mixed, with some excellent performances from Cillian Murphy, Hiroyuki Sanada and the surprising Rose Byrne (who was also, quite possibly, the best thing in Marie Antoinette).

But don’t let that detract from the visual beauty of the film. Boyle and co have managed to make the sun itself one of the central characters of the film. Monster, God, life-giver and destroyer – the sun is a fearful and awesome thing in this Sunshine, much as it is in life on earth.

[tags] Sunshine [/tags]

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Jason Clark 16 years ago

I loved the film, for so many reasons.

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