Re-Watch: Sunshine (2007)

Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian MurphyMichelle YeohTroy GarityRose ByrneHiroyuki SanadaBenedict WongChris EvansCliff CurtisMark Strong
Seen on: 27.11.2016

2057. The sun is dying and the only solution humanity has found is to send a team of astronauts there to reignite it with a fission bomb or else find all of life on earth doomed. The first mission, Icarus-I, to do just that has already failed, now a new team, Icarus-II, is on its way. When they pick up the distress signal of the Icarus-I, they decide to pick up the bomb that the ship has aboard, as a failsafe for their own mission. But that bomb may come at a higher price than they expected.

When I watched Sunshine for the first time, I remember not being particularly taken with it. But it was one of those films where I started getting doubts about my own judgement and that made me curious to check it out again almost 10 years later. And in this case, it definitely paid off, although I still didn’t fall head over heels for it, I did appreciate it much more than the last time.


Sunshine is a visually stunning film, with many images that simply blew me away. It’s also a film with a very strong ensemble cast and even though we don’t get to spend a lot of time with all of the characters, they are all vivid enough that you connect to them anyway – and that’s always a good thing, especially in a setting that starts picking them off one by one.

And that’s probably the thing that still worked least for me: the sudden genre change in the middle of the film. I remember it irritating me so much the first time round that it ruined the entire film for me. This time it didn’t ruin the film for me, but I wouldn’t have minded if they had stayed focused more on the space stuff instead of becoming a straight-up slasher on a spaceship.

But the film manages to build the tension enough that it grabbed me and carried me through that change of pace. I was completely into it, even when a voice in the back of my head insisted that things were being a bit ridiculous (and there were a couple of those moments) – the film still had me at the edge of my seat.

For me, that makes Sunshine a film that tells a not so good story extremely well. If nothing else, that makes it an interesting film to analyze more closely to find out where the difference between those two things is. I’m certainly glad I gave it a second chance.

Summarizing: Worth seeing, despite the weaknesses.


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