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Film Club: Sunshine

Friday 22 March 2013, 12:22

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Danny Boyle's new film Trance is released next week. What better time to revisit his most misunderstood and underrated film - the brilliant Sunshine.

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    Comment number 1.

    Sunshine bored the pants off me. As far as I'm concerned, DB's worst film. Even though I don't subscribe to the old Hollywood line of "if you want to send a message, use Wells Fargo", you still have a responsibility to make your film interesting and move it along at a decent pace. Anyway, doesn't matter, show me one great film-maker who hasn't made at least one dud.

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    Comment number 2.

    A great intro Mark and a superb choice for the film club.

    I remember the interview you did with Danny Boyle for the culture show and how he explained that when making the film he found himself 'navigating' through the great classic sci-fi films such as Alien and 2001.

    For me, Sunshine perfectly captures the essence of the genre: the awe of the unknown and the wonder of forces that dwarf humanity whether they be scientific, religious or otherwise.

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    Comment number 3.

    Great choice!

    Best Original score Ever!


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    Comment number 4.

    Or was it "Western Union"?

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    Comment number 5.

    Great choice, it was on TV this week. According to my wife it has two of the best things in recent cinema, Cillian's blue eyes!

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    Comment number 6.

    I saw Sunshine upon its release, I seem to remember practically the only other film showing at the time was 300, so I'd put its lack of success down to that.

    I stand by it, it's a proper entertainment. The interplay between the actors is snappy - Chris Evans is particularly good - it's awfully pretty, it's exciting and unnerving....yeah, it's great.

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    Comment number 7.

    I really enjoyed the film when I was sat down in front of the dvd by a friend. I am sad now that I missed it in the cinema. Like any decent sci-fi, it's certainly a film made for the big screen. However, from my perspective, I think its title didn't do it any favours.

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    Comment number 8.

    I loved the film. The build-up of tension with the excruciating scenes towards the end leave you on the edge of your seat. The bizarreness of what happens after they visit Icarus 1, and the disasters that keep happening lead to despair, but the end point is like a giant climax to the whole narrative. I recommend it.

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    Comment number 9.

    Mark this is one of my favourite films of all time. I own a total of 7 Blu-Rays based on looks alone. The Assassination Of Jesse James, The Fountain, Zodiac..... and the astonishing Sunshine. For me the story is less about delivering the payload and more about social interaction in an enclosed environment, under extreme stress. The task of re-igniting the sun is the Xenomorphic Alien (1979) picking them off one by one. In space no one can hear you Sun CREAM.

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    Comment number 10.

    I agree with Danny Dyers Oscar Speech. Always thought this was the weakest of Danny Boyle's movies and I am not a fan of Danny Boyle in general. The visuals aside (but Boyle has always had great style) I really hated the plot of the movie. First half bored me out and when they shift gear in the second half, I thought it becomes really dull ... but hey, maybe I will give it another try now and find out that I am wrong ;).

    @Danny Dyers Oscar Speech

    Paul Thomas Anderson never made a dud so far.

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    Comment number 11.


    There Will Be Blood.

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    Comment number 12.

    In regards to this movie, an Amazon review sums it up best (which I will shamelessly copy and paste).

    So, the sun is going out and the people on the spaceship are going to restart it and save the earth. They have a lot of challenges to overcome like in any movie, and then they overcome them. But here's the thing about the movie that you won't believe: no one ever looks really serious and says "It's daylight saving time."

    Not one character. No one says "It's daylight saving time." In the entire movie. I know you don't think it's possible, but if you watch it you'll feel like you wasted 4 hours of your life (time moves slower when you're waiting for someone to deliver an amazing line). What were the writers thinking!?

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    Comment number 13.

    The reason nobody went to see "Sunshine" has got nothing to do with sunny weather and everything to do with the fact that it is incredibly boring. It is a visually stunning snooze-fest.

    Great intro though. I'm almost tempted to watch "Sunshine" again.......probably not tempted enough though.

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    Comment number 14.

    I found Sunshine captivating when I watched it. For starters, the music was truly brilliant, some of the best I have heard for a science-fiction film. The imagery of the film was beautiful. The simple moments, such as the crew watching the transit of Mercury, grounded the film well for me; it mixed moments of beauty and calm with the slow degradation of the crew and the insanity at the end very well. And speaking of the ending, the last moments of the film with Capa (played wonderfully by Cillian Murphy) literally meeting his maker, and the calm afterwards really were great. Under appreciated it may be but it is one of my favourite sci-fi films, sorry for gushing

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    Comment number 15.

    Best introduction to a film club movie yet. Despite the flaws, I also do not understand the hate for Sunshine. I for one saw it on its first day of release and I was amazed to see a film that not only harks back to the days of intelligent sci-fi cinema (i.e. 2001, Silent Running etc) but actually presents a vision of where humanity may go.

    First of all the collision between religion and science is depicted as taking its toll, and is represented by Pannbaker (played by Mark Strong) and Syril the psychologist on the Icarus 2. The former is an astronaut who has gone insane and will stop at nothing in 'defending' the sun (or God) from being tampered by science. Syril meanwhile becomes obsessed with the sun's or God's power seeing as he spends most of his days in the sun room. Also the fact he recites a modified version of the funeral rites "Ashes to Ashes, Stardust to Stardust" is unmissable.

    And secondly the film very roughly and lightly touches upon the socio-political climate of this particular brand of the future. A future that has former so called third world countries being a major player, in this case its China and Brazil.

    The film also succeeds in depicting the isolation and solitude of space, and not since Alien has there been a film depicting space travel as tiring and exacerbating. And its because of this brilliant depiction that the film falls on a major flaw, which is the last third of the film switching from a science fiction of old to a second rate slasher film, its as almost as if it has gone from 2001 to Event Horizon.

    Overall the film is one of Boyle's best, its up there with Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, and yes its far better then the vastly overrated Slumdog Millionaire.

    Also, Dr. K, Event Horizon is a terrible film, just stick to re-watching The Shining.

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    Comment number 16.

    My husband hasn't forgiven me for making him watch this. I told him he was lucky I didn't make him watch The Fountain.

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    Comment number 17.

    the danny boyle gem for me - HANDS DOWN - is "The Beach"

    and i feel that i was got brushed under the carpet as well

    it's a masterpiece with good acting, great writing, lush scenery, a memorable soundtrack and very important messages

    i will never forget when leo first shouted in the fake drowning scene - i was like "i was so wrong about this romeo and juliet loser"

    apart from 127 hours - i haven't liked any other danny boyle film - i bet he is gutted he didn't make "The Impossible" it reeked of boyle direction

    he is getting very "malick" recently - and trance is gonna prove that i think

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    Comment number 18.

    I loved Sunshine. I went to see it in an almost-empty cinema with my Dad. It had such a powerful affect on me that I couldn't move for about 15 minutes afterwards, much to my Dad's annoyance. I found it beautiful, thought-provoking and yes there is a lot of latent spirituality in this. The combination of sci-fi and being thought-provoking makes it the perfect film for me.
    I know lots of people found it too slow and boring, but these people have clearly never seen the original Solaris (or indeed many Soviet films, which always seem to set out to test how long you can sit for!) Having said that I love Solaris as well. Perhaps I'm just a masochist.

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    Comment number 19.


    I don't think anyone in the world would agree There Will Be Blood is a dud...
    I shall re-watch Sunshine, I think people dismiss it because of the plot itself, I mean it is quite Michael Bay when you describe it to someone.

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    Comment number 20.

    Sunshine is a terrific gem of a film. I think those who didn't like the films final act took it far too literally. As you pointed out, Sunshine is filled with religious undertones and it all comes to fruition in what many people consider to be the infamous third act.

    Also I find it mind boggling that a film that cost just £20 million can look as good as any of Hollywood's multi million dollar blockbusters. It's such a shame that it failed at the box office.


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