Re-Watch: Sunshine (2007)

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

Plot:
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.

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Ex Machina (2015)

Ex Machina
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, Corey Johnson
Seen on: 28.04.2015

Plot:
Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) can’t believe his luck when he wins the employee lottery and will be allowed to meet the company’s – Bluebook, a search engine and more – owner, the reclusive genius Nathan (Oscar Isaac). And not only meet him – they will get to spend a week together in Nathan’s home, working on a project together. When Caleb arrives, Nathan announces that he has been working on an AI – and he wants Caleb to test her, Ava (Alicia Vikander), to see if she can pass as completely human. But the more time Caleb spends with Ava, the less he trusts Nathan and his intentions.

Ex Machina is great. Smart, political and surprisingly feminist science fiction, beautiful images, excellent script and a wonderful cast. I was blown away by it.

exmachina

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28 Days Later… (2002)

28 Days Later…
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Noah Huntley, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston
Seen on: 01.03.2015

Plot:
After a group of animal rights activists tries to free monkeys that have been infected with a rage virus, all hell breaks loose. But Jim (Cillian Murphy) knows nothing of that – he wakes up in hospital 28 days later to find an apparently empty world. Looking for an explanation and narrowly avoiding the infected, he finds Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley) who fill him in. Together they take up the fight for survival.

I have heard many good things about 28 Days Later… and so my expectations were very high. While the film is solid and good, it couldn’t quite match those expectations. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

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Dredd (2012)

Dredd
Director: Pete Travis
Writer: Alex Garland
Based on: John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra‘s comic
Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, Rakie Ayola

Plot:
In this ultra-violet future, there is no more separation of power – there is only the Judges, who are not only judges, but also jury and executioner all roled into one. And one of the best of these enforcers is Judge Dredd (Karl Urban). That’s why the Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola) asks him to take on Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a new recruit. She failed her entrance exam but because she’s a powerful telekinetic, they want to give her a chance anyway. And it just so happens that their first case leads them to an apartment house controlled by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), an extremely dangerous drug dealer. And suddenly Anderson and Dredd find themselves locked in that building with a whole lot of goons with a whole lot of firepower after them.

Dredd should have been better than it was. If you look at the parts separately, they are pretty damn awesome, but if you put them altogether you get a movie that is somehow less than that. Instead it was rather boring and unengaging.

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Never Let Me Go (2010)

Never Let Me Go is Mark Romanek‘s (director) and Alex Garland‘s (writer) adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins, Andrea Riseborough, Domhnall Gleeson and Charlie Rowe.

Plot:
Kath (Carey Mulligan) watches Tommy (Andrew Garfield) go in for his probably final donation and uses this time to reflect upon her life: How she grew up at Hailsham together with Tommy and Ruth (Keira Knightley), slowly discovering and coming to terms with the path chosen for her by her mere existence: she like all the other children at Hailsham is a clone, built for donating her organs and ultimately her life.

Never Let Me Go is an excellent adaptation, though it doesn’t manage to be quite as good as the book. Which probably wouldn’t have been possible anyway. But with a brilliant cast, wonderful soundtrack and very nice cinematography it has everything you need.

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