Any respectable slab of sci-fi pop needs a good hook, and Sunshine, the third collaboration between director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland, is almost instantly hummable. It’s the year 2057, and a crew of hottie astronauts (including Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, and Michelle Yeoh) are sent to reignite our dying sun with a massive nuclear payload. How exactly the situation got so dire, and why these particular men and women were selected for the voyage that will ostensibly save the human race, are details that matter less than questions such as: how in the hell are they going to complete their seemingly impossible suicide mission, especially with an increasingly limited oxygen supply and a crew given to dismaying fits of incompetence (read: human foible)? Reigniting the sun: it’s a science-fiction proposal that’s naturally grandiose and metaphorical in concept (yes, the spacecraft is called Icarus II) and promising in terms of narrative stakes, yet Boyle and Garland wisely throw a bunch of curve balls at the audience. The fun in watching Sunshine relies on entering knowing the concept and not much more; Garland piles so many divergences, catastrophes, and moral dilemmas on top of one another with such accelerating swiftness that it grows impossible to look away. Things might get overwrought, silly even, but it’s immensely pleasurable plunging headfirst into the fiery mess-even (or especially?) when it turns into an interstellar slasher film.
Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.