Sunshine

Sunshine

2007, R, 107 min. Directed by Danny Boyle. Starring Cliff Curtis, Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Mark Strong.

REVIEWED By Marrit Ingman, Fri., July 27, 2007

“It’s Sunspotting,” quipped the guy next to me of director Boyle’s reunion with screenwriter-novelist Alex Garland. (If you’re generous, think 28 Days Later; if not, 2000’s The Beach.) Set in the murkiest reaches of outer space, where there is great philosophical import if not scientific accuracy, the film follows “eight astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb” en route to the sun, which is dying prematurely in the not-too-distant future and needs an explosive jump start from a physicist (Murphy) in guyliner. Unwisely dubbed the “Icarus Project,” the mission sends a rainbow coalition of astronauts 55 million miles from an endangered Earth with Yeoh’s herb garden as their source of backup oxygen; cut off from contact, the crew’s only comfort is a sexy computer voice (Chipo Chung). But a discovery on the dark side of Mercury begets sabotage, insubordination, and a fierce battle between tragic optimism (in the midst of rubble, Yeoh finds a tiny seedling) and fatalism (“All our hopes, our dreams are foolish in light of this”). If you are bothered by movie spoilers, please read no further. I will not honor the spoiler code for a film whose Fox's official website trumpets on its front page, "Sunshine: 8 Deaths,” as if it were pleased. (You can view each character’s death scene, too.) Unsurprisingly, the movie about eight astronauts strapped to a bomb hurtling toward the sun is concerned with death – how we go to meet it, what our lives will have meant – and its best moments engage these questions. Boyle relishes the moving parts of his spaceship; they groan and tumble like giant gears in a cosmic clockwork, ticking away the lives and the oxygen of his characters. The film is never less than beautiful, with sumptuous photography of the ship’s quilted, womblike passageways and an observation room drenched in hot, sudden light. Nor can Boyle resist pretty simulations and photogenic close-ups of eyeballs. (In Solaris, the granddaddy of philosophical space opera, it was ears.) Problems arise in the film’s third act, however, with a profoundly implausible plot turn that sends the movie skidding into bogeyman horror. It cheapens the sentiment, and the film doesn’t recover.

Showtimes

Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz

320 E. Sixth, 512/861-7020, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/ritz

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily by phone or website.

Tue., Nov. 20

9:35

Wed., Nov. 21

9:45

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Sunshine
An Expanding Definition of Family
An Expanding Definition of Family
Karen Skloss' personal documentary explores mothers and daughters and the choices they make

Sarah Jean Billeiter, March 13, 2009

More Danny Boyle Films
T2 Trainspotting
The sequel to the 1996 classic

Marc Savlov, March 24, 2017

Steve Jobs
Everyone works at the top of their game to deliver this timely biopic

Kimberley Jones, Oct. 16, 2015

More by Marrit Ingman
Wonder Stories
Wonder Stories
Books

July 25, 2008

King Corn
The film’s light hand, appealing style, and simple exposition make it an eminently watchable inquiry into the politics of food, public health, and the reasons why corn has become an ingredient in virtually everything we eat.

Nov. 9, 2007

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Sunshine, Danny Boyle, Cliff Curtis, Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Mark Strong

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle