Movie Information

In Brief: It can certainly be argued that Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007) is more science-fiction than horror film. However, it's hard to deny that its last act — at least up to its mystically transcendent ending — owes a great deal to the horror genre. In fact, at the time of its release, this horror content was a source of some criticism — that the film turned into a mad killer movie. As such, it falls into both genres. However you classify it, this tale of a group of astronauts on a mission to "jump-start" our dying sun with a nuclear bomb is one of the filmmaker's best works.
Genre: Sci-Fi Horror
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne, Benedict Wong
Rated: R

When Danny Boyle’s Sunshine first appeared, I had to lobby to get it shown in Asheville. The Fine Arts didn’t think it was a good fit, and the mainstream theaters just weren’t interested in an artsy science-fiction movie. As it turned out, the Fine Arts did open the film — and to strong enough business that it was then picked up by the Carmike after its run there for another few weeks of life. I confess I was arguing for the film on the strength of nothing but Danny Boyle’s name, because I’d never seen it. I was not sorry. It was, I think, one of the best films of 2007 — and I’d still rate it in the top three of Boyle’s work. At the time, I wrote:

I don’t exactly know what I expected from Sunshine, but it wasn’t the film I got. I never expected the film to be as dramatically intense, philosophically intriguing or emotionally resonant as it is. If pressed for a one-line summation of my feelings, I’d settle for saying it reminded me of a more exciting 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), with characters I actually cared about in place of Kubrick’s ciphers. Alternatively, it’s a bit like Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (2006), but with a more traditional narrative. As usual, Boyle takes elements from other movies and reconfigures them to create something at once familiar and strange. In a sense, he’s a very post-modern filmmaker, tapping into, deconstructing, referencing or building on a cornucopia of pop culture. I’ve seen this cause him to be dismissed as derivative in some quarters, but really the history of art in general resembles a rogues’ gallery of thievery—and like the truly great artistic brigands throughout history, he generally leaves more than he took.

Full original review is here

The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen Sunshine Thursday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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