Possibly one of the most intriguing and harsh viewing experiences of my life, Sunshine, as shown in the film, manages to bathe you in light. Not just in light, but in sound as well. The whole experiences engulfs the senses until your mind reels and you leave the film, jarred and unsure about your very existance.
The tale of a second international space mission to revitalize our dying son in some near future, the film plays out like a combination of The Core and Event Horizon, but avoids the abject and horrid stupidity of those two films.
Cillian Murphy (of 28 Days Later and Red Eye fame) and Chris Evans (of Fantastic Four fame) lead up a cast that includes Hong Kong star Michelle Yeoh and Rose Byrne as astronauts heading into the sun to deliver a Big Bang-creating payload to create a new star and bring Earth out of a constant winter. As they pass out of the range of communications, they receive a distress call from the first mission to restart the sun, lost years before.
After debate, the fateful decision is made to attempt to retrieve the second payload to help assure the success of the experimental payload, leading to the inevitable misfortune of such a film.
The conflicts set up, the bleak character drama in the isolation of enclosed spaces and depths of space becomes numbing and claustrophobic, the toll being taken on everyone as circumstances careen out of control.
The visuals that Danny Boyle manages are both frenetic, beautiful, and disturbing. There is an amazing clarity only broken by blasts of light that burn into your mind, coupled with the movie's amazing sound work and score by Underworld. The sound buries you as you watch the film, shocking emotional responses out your brain.
The tone, the isolation, the slow dread, and the mindbending conclusion are enough to recommend the movie on, but this film is more than all those parts, a beautiful and heartwrenching masterwork of slow and deliberate storytelling. We feel every moment of the film, every character's emotion, every death, and we, ourselves, are left feeling the intense doom of deep space.
This bit of theatrical genius is one of the great moments of cinema history and stupid is the man who doesn't pay fealty to Boyle's work.