One-liner of the
Finally had a chance to catch Sunshine this weekend (the new one on the spaceship, not the older one with Ralph Fiennes's soapy D). Despite my affection for Danny Boyle, or maybe because of it, I'm willing to concede it was a swing-and-a-miss. It was ambitious as hell, which not enough movies are anymore (at least intellectually), and I have a feeling a lot of the visuals are going to stick with me for a while (esp. the many times we see the wonderful Cliff Curtis standing in the observation room, silhouetted against the glowing mass of the sun). But, the plot was giving me a serious case of the "huh?"s (and not in the good way), especially toward the "climactic" ending, and the script was laden with way too much dumbed-down exposition, a fact which was not helped by the bafflingly miscast crew. Now, my feelings about Cillian Murphy perhaps need not be stated, but come on--he's the one you're going to choose as your shipboard physicist on your suicide mission to the sun? Please. Likewise the rest of the beefy, generically handsome dudes, especially Chris Evans with his almost comically needless and situationally inappropriate perpetual huffiness. Michelle Yeoh gets a pass because, well, she's Michelle Yeoh, but the role was a joke and she was clearly doing everything she could to redeem it, and Rose Byrne was essentially doing a pale imitation of the genuinely sweet, smart strength of Jewel Staite as Kaylee in Serenity/Firefly. I'm sure most of these actors have their charms, but, on the whole, everyone was just too damn good looking. I longed for the sight of a few of those gloriously lumpy Scottish mugs in Trainspotting, or Brendan Gleeson from 28 Days Later. And while a years-long mission through the solar system with a tiny crew in constant contact and constant awareness of their own mortality should have been a perfect vehicle to examine Danny Boyle's usual interest in the ways that social groups break down under the weight of their own entropy, there was nothing about the degradation of the crew's relationships that seemed earned or organic. From the start, they were nothing more than walking representations of the most sophomoric ideas of character conflict, and without any lingering past affection established between them at all (Yeoh's deep connection to the plants in the greenhouse being the one possible exception; Murphy and Byrne's sleepytime discussion of their surface-of-the-sun nightmares decidedly not), there was no room to move within the realm of cynicism and distrust. The rot had already infected everything on screen, and not in an interesting or nuanced way, and so the only stakes left seemed to be vague, lofty ideals about their duty to the rest of the human race. Reverse those two, and then maybe you have a movie worth caring about and not an inadvertent dramatization of our current administration's rhetoric. Anyway, there's no way I'm giving up on Danny Boyle; I criticize because I care!