The Movies of Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle is one of those directors who always manages to create a movie filled with pulse-pounding emotion, often unlike anything we've seen before.  His latest movie, 127 Hours, is one of the nominees for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards.  (It managed to get a total of six Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor nod for James Franco).  Two of his previous movies are on my list of all-time favorites: Trainspotting and 28 Days LaterSlumdog Millionaire is one of my wife's faves.  All in all, Boyle is a master filmmaker and rarely disappoints.  Even his lesser films, like The Beach, often have many redeeming qualities.

Today I rewatched his science fiction film Sunshine, and I have to recommend it as a masterpiece of the genre.  It's the kind of movie that puts other sci-fi spectacles to shame.  Full of dramatic tension and suspense, brimming with speculative fiction ideas rooted in science rather than fantasy, it's a gripping tale from the opening voice-over narration (and the image of our sun that sets up the premise) right up to the final deeply emotional scene revealing to the audience whether or not the mission to save our solar system's star was a success. 

A lot of science fiction movies often fall into two extremes -- either over-the-top special effects craziness or slow-paced, boring pseudo-SF arthouse flicks.  Sunshine is a visually stunning tale that doesn't hold back on action, terror, and terrific characterization.  The cast, which includes Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, and others, is superb.  The plot is believable, thought-provoking, and full of surprises.  The cinematography is often beautiful for what surely wasn't a big budget project.  The editing, while sometimes a bit jarring, still manages to create subtextual images and juxtapositions that add to the mood of the story.

Sunshine is one of those films that I wish more people could see, even non-science fiction fans, because it demonstrates everything the genre could be. I hope Danny Boyle directs some more sci-fi goodness in the future.


Mike DiChiara said…
Another brilliant aspect of "Sunshine" is John Murphy's ominous, yet triumphant score. It is beautifully done and really puts you on the same level as the characters who are faced with this masive challenge. I would go into specifics as to just how the music sets the tone for certain scenes, but that would spoil the movie for any readers who have not yet seen it.