Film Review: Sunshine (Nightmare in Space)

Okay, this isn’t really supernatural, but about half way through, it starts to feel like a horror movie.

Sunshine_posterCillian Murphy(28 Days Later), Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later) and Chris Evans star alongside Michelle Yeoh and Cliff Curtis.

The sun is dying. The earth has been mined for all its nuclear material to make a very large bomb, the payload. The spaceship, Icarus 11, (Icarus 1 failed but they don’t know why) is on its way to deliver the payload into the sun and save mankind – all sounds a bit dodgy but suspend your disbelief and you’ll be fine. And of course in the vein of Deep Impact, Armageddon and every other space movie, things go very wrong. The difference between those movies and Sunshine is that Sunshine, for the first half anyway, is much more subtle. Because of its lack of action and almost arty quality, I think it suffered when it was released. Perhaps people were expecting comedy and explosion after explosion (Bruce Willis style) and they were a bit bored by Sunshine. I wasn’t.

This film is one of my favourites when it comes to space movies. As a kid I watched Space Camp almost weekly with my sisters. I was at the cinema with my dad years and years ago to see Deep Impact and I went to Sunshine with my dad too. We both thought it was great. The fact that it’s directed by Danny Boyle was a big selling point. 28 Days Later is one of the best horror films. The sense of how alone the astronauts are up there came through well. When they hear the distress sound from Icarus 1, the film really gets going. How could anyone be alive on that ship after seven years? Should they board the ship and take the second payload. Two bombs are better than one is the argument. Or should they stick to the mission? It’s up to Capa (Cillian Murphy) to decide as he’s the physicist. They board the ship, and Sunshine plunges into Horror territory after. They should have never veered off course. Hindsight is a bitch.

A sci-fi end of the world film it may be on paper, but really, it’s a drama. These people have been in space for over a year by themselves and know they’re most likely on a suicide mission. Their struggle to keep their minds on the job provides great tension. But they’re only human. They slip up, and realise, about the same time as the audience does, that they’re going to pay for their errors with their lives.

There’s a sun viewing room where the crew can sit and watch the blazing star. The sense of power emanating from the sun is impressive. The images of the sun, and there are a lot throughout this film, are gorgeous and dazzling. And on a final note, the music score is stunning.

Fantastic. *****

Who’s seen this one? Are you a fan of space movies?

**************

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20 thoughts on “Film Review: Sunshine (Nightmare in Space)

  1. I love space movies, especially subtle suspenseful ones which are rare. Although I saw both Armageddon and Deep Impact, I really didn’t care for the first. Deep Impact, however, is a movie I’ve watched numerous times. That one really left a mark on me, probably because it was so character-driven. There’s also an old space movie with Bruce Dern called Silent Running, which is an oddball quiet film, but I remember watching that several times.

    I’m off to look up Sunshine on Amazon. Sounds like my type of film!

    1. I’m with you on Deep Impact. I’ve always preferred it to Armageddon. I still get chills watching the part where Tea Leoni is looking up Ele and sees the definition: Extinction Level Event.
      Silent Running – haven’t heard of that one, but I’ll look it up. Thanks.

    1. It’s kind of a slow burner, but one of the best space movies I’ve seen. The cast are great, well most of them. Chris Evans doesn’t do much. In fact he seems kind of out of place.

  2. I like/love space movies and have seen all the others you refer to, but not this one. I may have to add this one to my lineup. I went on a bit of a binge this weekend. If you call three movies a binge. LOL.

    1. This one slipped through the net. It came out in 2007 but didn’t make much of a fuss at the box office.
      Three movies, were the kids asleep? πŸ™‚ What did you watch?

      1. I put daddy in charge of the kids. πŸ˜€ I pretended to write with the television on. Yeah, right. LOL. I watched The Awakening. That one totally surprised me, which it hard to do. Spooky ghost story. I watched The Hunger Games again and wrapped it all up with Timer. I’m going to write a post about that one.

  3. I love space movies. Been on a fix lately and watched Red Planet and Mission to Mars over the weekend. I’ll have to see if this is available on Netflix. Sounds awesome!

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