Written by: rerj73
Sunshine is one of those rare cinematic experiences where I was reminded that I truly have not seen everything under the sun, yet. That doesn't mean that different is better, but it's refreshing to be reminded that there are still frontiers yet to explore. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later), Sunshine is set against the backdrop of one of our planet's nagging fears: one day soon, the sun could blink out like a candle. In the film's story, this will come in 50 years, and a bomb is created that will reignite the sun.
When a crew dispatched to deliver this payload goes missing, a second crew is sent afterwards determined to complete the job. Once they pass out of the range of communication with the Earth, they discover that the previous mission's vessel is intact and the decision is made to recover the payload from that ship, doubling the mission's chance of success.
What follows is one of the most bizarre tonal shifts ever witnessed in a film, and Sunshine moves from the realm of pure sci-fi to the territories of the horror film, not entirely successfully.
The highlight of this film is its stunning visual style. If you have the rig to present this in hi-definition with appropriate sound, this film offers some of the most striking moments in recent memory. In particular, the images of the sun, even as it dies, are stirring. The sound design is also remarkable, and the Phillip Glass-style score makes a welcome accompaniment to the beautiful set pieces.
Unfortunately, the story, especially in the late going, is convoluted and the philosophical musings are handled with more grace in the far superior 2001: A Space Odyssey. In short, the sum of the parts does not equal the whole. While a dazzling spectacle of a film, the third act feels like such a different film that it's hard to resolve the two disparate pieces of the story. I enjoyed seeing a talented director attempt something unique. It's unfortunate that the results were not as bold as the intentions. If you have a quality home theater set-up, rent Sunshine for its beauty. If not, give this one a curious glance when it shows up on cable.