‘If the sun dies, so do we’ is the tagline for this movie. 50 years in the future (2057) the sun is dying and so naturally rather than let it die, a crew of astronauts led by Capa (a chilly Cillian Murphy) are enlisted to save the planet. How? By hurling a nuclear bomb into the sun of course – almost like an out-of-this-world defribillator.
7 years previously, the ill-fated Icarus I with a similar nuclear bomb plan vanished along with its crew. If Icarus II fails this time, with it die the last hopes of survival from an incoming ice age on Earth. There are 8 crew onboard including Captain Kaneda (Sanada), psychologist Searle (Curtis) and Corazon who monitors the ship’s onboard oxygen supply. The trip takes years and the team begin to get restless and slowly doubt creeps in. If you know anything about Greek mythology you wouldn’t feel to comfortable about being on a ship named that either.
From the duo (Danny Boyle & Alex Garland) that revamped the horror genre by making zombies unnaturally fast in 28 days later, comes an awe inspiring tale about mankind’s refusal to die in a modern age of scientific breakthroughs and solutions. This film also explores the human psyche in the background of a stunning sun that whenever shown takes over as the true star (sorry!) of this movie. Murphy and Evans provide the onboard tension, Curtis gives us spooky psychological explorations and spends too much time on the sun deck – some superb acting and genuinely chilling moments. There’s just something about Murphy’s bright blue eyes that is slightly disconcerting.
Ensconced by an amazing soundtrack (check out the brilliant Requiem for a dream), we are given a claustrophobic (reminiscent of Alien) race against time to save the earth. There are some questionable plot moments and the not all of the science is sound. Some questions left unanswered. This movies does require suspending disbelief. In the same way that we don’t ask about the breeding cycle of the aliens in Alien, some information is left to our imagination. All in all this is a brilliant movie that revives the sci-fi genre with an intelligent, introspective, crazy look at our fight for survival. Were it not for the terrible ‘what the hell?’ final act, which almost seems as though Boyle lost concentration, this film would have got a full rating from me.
Despite some flaws this movie is amazing and worthy of a place on your shelves. In the words of the character Searle – ‘It’s invigorating. It’s like….taking a shower in light. You lose yourself in it.’