Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 222 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The sun is dying. It is no longer providing the energy and the light that mankind needs to survive on Earth. The entire global community pools its resources to send a mission into space to deliver a bomb to reignite the part of the sun that is failing. Our story concerns the eight astronauts and scientists who lead this mission. On their journey towards the sun the crew stumble upon the ship that was sent on the same mission seven years previously, the Icarus I, drifting in space. From this point on things start to go very wrong. Its about how the crew react under the enormous pressure of their endeavor to save mankind. (Fox Searchlight) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. A bare outline of the plot reads like a space-adventure thriller with end-of-the-world stakes and a hint of celestial spirituality, and the haunted spaceship twist in the third act is pure B-movie madness.
  2. Sunshine is its own creature, taking inspiration from classic science fiction films but insisting on a gritty reality that much improves on past space adventures.
  3. 75
    Science-fiction fans will like it, and also brainiacs, and those who sometimes look at the sky and think, man, there's a lot going on up there, and we can't even define precisely what a soliton is.
  4. For though it can't maintain its momentum all the way to the end, Sunshine until it stumbles is gratifyingly far from the usual space-opera stuff.
  5. 63
    So what starts out as fascinating sci-fi becomes just fi, and winds up pulp fi.
  6. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    Danny Boyle still creates an impressive world, visually rich and yet cold and claustrophobic.
  7. Directed by Danny Boyle, it lacks even a single moment of charm or interest.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 89 out of 114
  2. Negative: 14 out of 114
  1. May 1, 2013
    Spoiler alert!
    Reading reviews of Sunshine is a profoundly depressing experience, and reminds me that western culture is in its last death
    throes. Every single archetype, symbolism and cultural alliteration swushes as completely and utterly over the heads of reviewers as a Star Trek spaceship, before they proceed to complain about narratives they don`t understand because of illiteracy and an ending they understand even less for the same reason.
    On a first viewing, Sunshine is a visually impressive, if claustrophobic story of a group of scientists on their way to reignite the Sun with the largest nuclear bomb in NATO history. Nothing special there, and if this is all the movie remains for you, more impressive movies can certainly be found. But even on a first viewing it should be obvious that there is another story being told that reaches down into the very foundations of western cultural traditions. You`d think reviewers born and raised in the west might notice this therefore. No such luck!
    To mention all the symbolism, religious and cultural references contained in Sunshine is not easy; indeed I may not even have noticed them all. But from the basic allegory of the Sun as truth/God/creating force present in the Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Christian traditions, many of them are so evident I squirm with embarrassment on behalf of those who fail to notice even any of it.
    The first is the ship in which they travel, named Icarus after the Greek mythological figure who flew too close to the Sun so his wings fell off. As with everything else this is not a literal event being retold, but an allegory regarding the force of truth/God and the futility of trying to become God. If the entire movie is viewed as an allegory of the search for truth, you could easily see that most reviewers would need very powerful sunglasses indeed. If this is correct though, the gatekeeper of truth is the movie`s nemesis, Penbacker, who seeks to destroy the Icarus and prevent the crew from reigniting the Sun, by killing them all. Like a Syrian pillar hermit he has spent seven years close to God (the Sun) and presumes to have understood the futility of denying the death of God (truth), and aggressively seeks to prevent anyone from reigniting the Sun/remaking God/finding truth.
    The actual bomb is triggered from a cross-shaped scaffolding. The cross was traditionally a symbol of the rebirth of God, even before Christianity. Around this cross is a square, representing order. Logically then, as the bomb goes off and God (The Sun) is reborn on the Cross, the main character (Capo) transcends, is reborn as God and a new order begins.
    This is why the ending to the movie is the way it is. Not to be weird but to tell an allegorical story about God/truth/rebirth. To the allegorical illiterates in this weird society this is all nonsense of course, and Sunshine is a bad movie because it`s not simple enough for them.

    I could obviously talk more about all this, and it would be nice if at least one conversation about Sunshine would. Some people detest allegory and wouldn`t recognize a cultural symbol if it jumped up and gave them a haircut, which is perfectly fine. But it might be helpful if the people criticizing this splendid movie understood what an allegory is at least. Personally I firmly believe that certain things can`t be properly communicated without them, as my puny attempts to verbalize them here should illustrate, and I feel that movies with allegorical depth are the only ones that ever become classics. Much the same can be said of literature. And if it`s allegorical depth you want you can`t find a better movie than Sunshine. I defiantly vote 10!
  2. Sep 21, 2012
    Arguably the best sci movie of the last 20 years. If you cant handle that at the end of the movie the hero activates the payload inside the sun, its not for you. Partly horror, it still puts good movies like Armageddon, Deep impact and Event Horizon in another league. Expand
  3. Sep 25, 2011
    I got what I expected from Sunshine; a profound SF masterpiece that doesn't contain all those unnecessary dialogue and stupid characters. Though Danny Boyle was foolish to put a zombie into the movie, nevertheless its one of the year's best films. Expand
  4. Oct 17, 2010
    I liked almost everything about this movie - the characters are realistic, the conflicts among the crew are believable and interesting, the action and pace of the film is intense and engrossing, and the special effects look fantastic. I really have no idea why they decided to throw a supernatural "monster" in at the end, it definitely broke the spell for me. Fortunately there are enough positives in this movie to compensate for the one big negative. Expand
  5. Sep 13, 2010
    Space crew go off to save the Earth by dropping a a bomb into the Sun to re-ignite it.
    Chutzpah & nonsense happen during the mission.
    first 3 quarters of the film are fine with the usual space mission going well & then not so well. It's the last quarter where it sort of runs out of steam & ideas. Expand
  6. Sep 28, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sunshine is 2/3rds of a great film. But that third act is such a ruinous mistake that it taints the entire experience.

    I mean, for the first two acts, Sunshine's basically a master class in how to create a brilliant scifi film. There's this loneliness and tension and a methodical, measured tone that really works to pull you into the film. It's obviously very referential of 2001, but without the mindnumbing pace and lack of characterization of Kubrick's film. It just fires on all cylinders in this beautifully conceived scifi environment. Plus, John Murphy's soundtrack is absolutely mesmerizing. "Adagio in D Minor" is a particular standout and his career achievement to date. Some of the events in the film do feel familiar, but that wasn't a bad thing. They felt like nice little tips of the hat to the giants of the genre. For example, the dilemma about running out of oxygen and having to kill a member of the crew to cut down on consumption felt like a very obvious callback to Tom Godwin's classic scifi short story "The Cold Equations." You know, the one about a girl secretly stowing aboard a small spacecraft with one pilot that's delivering life-saving drugs to a colony. Unfortunately, there's only enough fuel for the weight of the pilot and the drugs aboard, and the girl's added weight means the ship is going to run out of fuel and crash on the planet, killing both of them. So the only solution is to jettison this poor girl out the airlock. It's a very similar situation in the film, but that didn't bother me at all. If you're going to take influences, might as well take them from the best.

    And then the third act twist occurs, and it all just goes right to hell. I dunno what Danny Boyle and his scriptwriter were thinking, but man, that uh... that last act and what happens was just such a course change, and an unneeded one for me, that it completely stopped the movie. You're just staring at the screen wondering why, why, why. Why would they drop the ball like this? The whole tone and tenor of the piece just veered off in this rather ridiculous and unbelievable direction. I felt cheated, to be honest. It didn't make sense and didn't seem to be what the first two acts had been about. The twist is that the captain of the first Icarus is alive and he's basically a monster out of a slasher film. He's somehow been living on the other ship getting a suntan for all these years and now he's on the Icarus 2 murdering people and possessing superhuman strength even though he's covered all over with horrible burns. Also, he appears as this blurry, vibrating, fluctuating mess on camera which makes no sense. I guess Danny Boyle wanted it to create some sort of effect or to suggest that perhaps he's just a hallucination, but it just looked irritating to my eyes. Of course, you've gotta wonder how he even became Captain of the Icarus, you'd think NASA or whoever would check for mental instability when picking the crew for THE MOST IMPORTANT MANNED SPACE MISSION OF ALL TIME.

    It's tough, because you really want to recommend this somewhat unknown scifi film to friends (it only made around 3 million at the box office IIRC) but that last act is a blunder that just sinks the whole thing. Can I really recommend 2/3rds of a film to someone? That's what I'd like to do.
  7. Jan 23, 2014
    Bad film with very bad writing. Boyle said to got inspiration from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris, and Alien. Against all odds, not a single piece of talent is to be found here. The film relays on an over dramatic crew to create a force atmosphere; and stupid choices to make 1 hour of extra film. The script is just awful and predictable. Cillian Murphy is the cherry on the top of the turd; I don't want to see his face again, I don't want to hear him again.

    The film have few good thing. It starts is fantastic and an example. And it could have being a great movie. But you can stop watching after 30 minutes; just about the time in which a PhD in maths make a booboo and forgot to carry one. That is the smaller plot hole you will see from that point on.

See all 114 User Reviews