(2007) dir. Danny Boyle
Since his 1994 film Shallow Grave, which I saw in England when it was first released, I’ve wound up following the career of director Danny Boyle, throughout his spotty, yet usually interesting career. His big hit Trainspotting (1996) almost pushed him into the mainstream, though his abysmal The Beach (2000), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, nearly killed his career, I think. But it also started a long working relationship with author Alex Garland, with whom he also devised one of Boyle’s other successes, 28 Days Later… (2002).
Their latest, Sunshine, is sort of like a poor man’s Solaris (1972)….oh wait, Steven Soderbergh already did that, right? Okay, it’s not purely Solaris but it’s a space film that is meant to be more heady than exciting, though, in this case, it tries to go for both.
The sun is dying and so a crew goes on a potentially suicide mission with an atomic bomb the size of Manhattan to re-ignite the star in humankind’s last ditch effort of survival. Cillian Murphy, who’s been showing up in a lot of things lately, is the physicist on the team and the protagonist of the story. And the story is okay, though a bit slow. Let’s face it, not everybody is Andrei Tarkovsky, nor should they be. But it’s gotta be said, that the whole sunlight/death/god thing is really not entirely fathomable or functional. You can see the look of epiphany on their faces, but it’s contrived. It doesn’t hit home, it doesn’t have depth, it doesn’t have real meaning.
While it’s not Tarkovsky, it’s also not quite Michael Bay’s Armageddon (1998) either. It’s little wonder that this film slipped in and out of theaters so quickly and why many of you are probably going “Sunshine?” Well, to answer your question,…no.