Sunshine Danny Boyle

Sunshine Danny Boyle
Ever since he seduced us in 1996 with Trainspotting, Danny Boyle has become one of the world’s most worshipped directors. Though the big budget of 2000’s The Beach had some people questioning his ability to deliver a blockbuster, he rebounded with the inexpensive 28 Days Later, which some feel is his best work. With Sunshine, Boyle’s giving the big time another crack, venturing into the world of sci-fi to see if he can pull off another genre film.

Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) stars as Capa, a physicist on board the Icarus II, a spaceship carrying a bomb the size of Manhattan that’s meant to detonate inside and revive the dying sun. Aiming to fulfil the mission after the first Icarus went missing, Capa and his crew (which includes Michelle Yeoh, Chris Evans and Cliff Curtis) discover a signal from the lost ship en route to their sunny destination. Of course, there’s a snag and despite the fact that most of the crew know the odds of survival on this mission are slim, they investigate and locate the abandoned vessel.

Thankfully the film avoids the easy trappings of resorting to an Alien-esque threat but what transpires is unfortunately more disorientating and unsettling than it should have been. For the first two-thirds of Sunshine, I felt myself falling under Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland’s (The Beach and 28 Days Later) spell. The mission was enthralling and somewhat believable — this is the future — and there were many ways to end this to flatter the breathtaking effects Boyle and his crew provide. But the twist that sends the film into orbit is as messy as Event Horizon or even The Beach, for that matter, leaving me wondering why I was in fact surprised.

Boyle is the master of spinning genres and he comes very close to putting his stamp on sci-fi the way he did with horror in 28 Days Later but Sunshine comes up a few rays too short in the end. (Fox Searchlight)