‘Sunshine’ movie review: Danny Boyle’s sci-fi thriller burns brightly


It´s wonderful to watch a sure-handed director work within genre confines; Danny Boyle elevated 28 Days Later well above your average zombie flick, did the same the family film Millions, and does it once again with his sci-fi Sunshine. The premise is simple: the sun is dying and a crew of astronauts are sent to detonate a nuclear bomb to re-ignite it.

Similar concepts have been handled in junk food like Armageddon and The Core, but that´s where the similarities end; it´s refreshing to watch what a director like Boyle can do with the material. He doesn´t re-invent the genre, nor does he intend to – instead, he gives us a tight, introspective film that hits all the right notes up until the final reel.

Stark design and intimate focus recalls the best of what the sci-fi genre can offer, from Kubrick´s 2001 to Tarkovsky´s Solaris.

The crew of the Icarus II is halfway through their mission to the sun, and out of the range of communication of the Earth. They come across a distress signal from the previous ship – Icarus I, which has been missing for seven years – and a decision is made that will set forth a disastrous sequence of events that will endanger their lives, and more importantly, their mission.

The cast is top-notch – Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans stand out as opposing forces fighting toward the same goal, Cliff Curtis excellent as a psych officer with a sunlight fascination, Hiroyuki Sanada quietly effective as the commander.

Plot derails at the very end, with slasher film elements almost haphazardly bringing the film to conclusion, and an unnecessary final shot, but these don´t diminish the effectiveness of the rest of the movie. Set design, music, and other tech credits are all top of the line.

Sunshine is an intelligent, philosophical, and rewarding sci-fi feature.



Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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