The collaborative team of Danny Boyle and Alex Garland bring attention to the space-thriller in Sunshine which stars Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, and Rose Byrne.
The main conceit from the title is that our shining star is dying and a jumpstart utilizing an atomic bomb went awry.
The final hope for Earth lies with eight astronauts of Icarus II and Garland's screenplay gets into their internal conflict. Murphy's physicist Capa feels that reaching an off-course Icarus I might be the mission, yet it could bring them closer to harm's way.
Those into science-fiction will be reminded of seminal efforts by Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott, as well as less spectacular if flashy pictures like Armageddon and Event Horizon. The f/x are sharply presented as Boyle demonstrates again (like Millions) that he has a lively visual eye as the glittery imagery takes hold.
But, how the plot pulls it all together with signals of desperation and crew torment nearly leaves the viewer lost in space after a viable set-up. Yes, as the crew gets closer to the Sun, things happen in a way that normally these solar/astronomy experts won't understand. Cinematically, the movie is like the proverbial McGuffin with no payoff, even if the final shot is atmospherically poignant.
If the story leaves one blurred and somewhat numb, then the cast, though mostly underdeveloped characters, withstands the predictability fairly well. Murphy displays an inner fire, Evans is a fiery sort, and Byrne's Cassie is a spunky pilot. Even Cliff Curtis, Michelle Yeoh, and Troy Garity (Jane Fonda's son) have actorly pride even if they know they're not in a cool, imaginative outer space movie.