Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hidden Gems: Sunshine

Space, where no one can hear you scream. Wait a second, there are no aliens in this movie, just our hero Cillian Murphy pitted against a psychotic astronaut charred by the sun, alongside Danny Boyle's visually stunning direction.

Sunshine is a striking piece of science fiction. The film's story is simple, our solar system's sun is dying, and eight astronauts are sent on a mission to re-ignite the sun with an advanced atomic bomb, but it is the way in which the story plays out that is remarkable.

The film starts out as an ensemble piece, and then later on as the various astronauts begin to succumb to the dangers of their mission, we start to focus on Cappa, played wonderfully by Cillian Murphy.

Cappa is a physicist, his part in this mission is to make sure the atomic bomb is launched into the sun at the right trajectory when they reach the launch point. Course when they discover the remains of their predecessors damaged spaceship, Cappa makes the call to try and man the bomb from the other ship to have a back-up bomb to launch into the sun in case the first malfunctioned. This is where the film really kicks into overdrive, becoming a suspense/thriller as they unkowingly pick up the crazed Captain from the deserted ship, who begins to pick them off like flies, and it is up to Cappa to fulfill their mission for all of the human race.

The film was directed by Danny Boyle who manages to create a science fiction/thriller unlike any other. The wondrous images of the spaceship imposed against the impending sun are beautiful, and are simply fantastic to behold. Though the film's strength is that Boyle manages to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire film.

There are only nine characters in this entire film (ten if you include the ship's computer), and the film does not waste any time in hooking the audience. After a few scenes establishing the characters and their relationships, we see their dangerous mission go from bad to worse and astronauts start perishing left-and-right. Boyle makes us question whether or not this crew will actually succeed in their mission, and that is what makes this film such a thrill-ride. But Boyle does not overplay the suspense, he lets it unfold naturally, as if in real-time, taking a page out of Hitchcock on that one.

Sunshine is a truly marvelous film, one that is sheer wonderment and chock full of suspense.

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