Sunshine (2007) is a movie directed by Danny Boyle. The movie is a sci-fi thriller set in space. The crew of Icarus Two, the ship that the crew are in, is on mission to fly to our sun as it is dying. They have to fire an atom bomb, the size of Manhattan island into it, which will cause a chain reaction and restart the sun. They have been flying for over a year to reach the sun and hit what is called “The Dead Zone” which means they can no longer contact earth due to the solar storms caused by the sun. The crew of eight are then left to continue their mission without help. Before Icarus Two set off, another ship called ‘Icarus One’ was sent to complete their journey and were never heard from after they passed into the dead zone. No one knew why the first ship was unable to complete their mission, which is why Icarus Two is now doing it. The crew aren’t far from the sun when they get a distress call from the Icarus One, they decide to investigate. Pinbacker, the captain of Icarus One is still alive and manages to get onto the Icarus Two. Crazy and insane, Pinbacker begins to kill the crew off one by one and attempts to fail the mission. Capa manages to send the bomb into the sun and set it off, however he is inside the vessel which travel into the sun and dies with it. Below is a trailer of the film that I sourced from YouTube.
The movie to me is full of emotion. It is all about accepting your fate, and realising that you must make sacrifices for the ones you love to live on. Danny Boyle shows this theme of self sacrifice throughout the whole movie in many different ways.
The main way scene in which Boyle portrays this theme is in the death of Kaneda. Being the captain of the ship, Kaneda, assisted by Capa, have to repair some of the solar panels on the face of the ship as they have came loose. The ship alters the alignment with the sun to give them shadow to make this possible. The heat on the other side of the ship becomes too great and the intelligence on the ship tells them that it has to revert to the old alignment to keep the ship from getting damage. While Capa and Kaneda are still trying to repair the panels, the roof begins to revert, but they have to continue or the panels could set fire to the ship and destroy it. Kaneda orders Capa to leave and ultimately knows he doesn’t have enough time to get back inside if he fixes the panels. This is our first scene in the film of self sacrifice. Kaneda knows that he is going to die, for he must if the crew are to complete their mission. He not only does it for the crew, but for the sake of the human race. The video below is of his death.
The music in this scene is very important. It plays a major role in helping us understand what Kaneda is doing. He might be dying, which is sad, but he is doing it for the greater good. This music mirrors this by having a sad sound to it, but being loud and epic. It is a song of self sacrifice. Boyle also uses many different shot types to help you understand what is happening to Kaneda and why he is doing this. One of the main shots used is an over the shoulder shot. Boyle uses this to establish a perspective from inside of Kaneda’s suit. We see how scared and nervous he is with the sweat dripping off his head. By using doing this, we get to see how human he is. It adds to the idea of self sacrifice. It’s not just a death, it’s something he must do. This makes us empathise for the character. Also by using this shot, we see how exactly what Kaneda is seeing. It give us perspective and makes us completely understand what is going on.
Another important scene in the film is Capa’s death. Capa is the main character, and Boyle chose to strategically leave his until the end. Capa finally fires the bomb into the sun, along with himself. Capa knows that by he must manually set the bomb off from the inside of it. In the scene below, we see Capa start the bomb and his death.
This scene, unlike Kaneda’s death is alot lighter and happier. Boyle has done this to show that it is a relief. All the build up throughout the movie is let go, as the main mission is finally achieved. The theme of self sacrifice is still present in this scene. We mainly have panning shots during the tie of the explosion. This is to give us a sense of how big the explosion is, and how little Capa is. It is almost juxtaposition. Even though he is so small, he is still making the biggest sacrifice. Once the bomb has gone off we cut between shots behind Capa and close ups of his face. The close ups are extremely important as we see the emotions he is feeling. He isn’t sad at all. He is happy as he is going to achieve his goal and fix our planet. We know that he isn’t sad as his sister and nephews are on earth, so they will live their lives because of him, and this sacrifice that he makes. In this close up of Capa, his face is lighten up and his mouth is open. This is a symbol of him seeing the light and in awe at how beautiful it is. He is mesmerised with what he is seeing. He sees himself in the sun, the beauty of life, and how deadly it is. It is a representation of human life and how amazing yet deadly we have become.
Mace is the engineer on the ship, he dies due to the water coolant being broken. He must dive into the freezing water that cools the systems of the ship and submerge the system so they will come back online. The water is that cold that he dies. He knows that is going to die, and hates himself for having to, but knows it is for the greater good. The scene below this his death
We can see that Mace is struggling for life, while knowing he is going to die. Boyle show us this by zooming the camera out as Mace is struggling forwards in its direction. This is a representation of him being helpless. He is reaching out for the camera, which is a symbol of help, but we are moving away, he is trying so much but can’t grasp the help that he needs. We also get a close up of Mace’s face, the camera is juddering up and down, like his body. This shows us how cold Mace is, due to the freezing water, and the amount of struggling he is doing. We also have an offset shot of his foot under the water. By using an offset shot, Boyle creates a sense of unease and sickness. We can see blood in the water and Mace’s foot struggling as he is trying to get out. This adds to the unease that we feel. The music goes along perfectly with this scene, it goes up and down in a rhythmical type of way. This adds to the idea of him struggling for life, since he is moving up and down, trying to break free and survive. When he eventually realises he isn’t going to escape, the music dims down and goes very quiet. This is a representation of his life going quiet and being at its end.
The ships navigator, Trey, also dies. He commits suicide to make sure that the other live to complete their mission. With the oxygen garden gone, all the remaining crew members know that there isn’t enough air for them all to survive until they reach the sun. Trey slits his writs in the holographic room. In the video below, we see how the group reacts to Trey’s death.
Boyle continues to shows this theme of self sacrifice, even in this scene. Trey might be committing suicide, which is his own choice, but it is for the simple fact that he wants the other to continue. Boyle uses a close up on Mace’s face to show us how sad he is that one of his friends has died. He is relieved that they have enough oxygen to continue, by is saddened by the death of his companion. The close up shows us a side of Mace’s face, not the whole thing. I believe that this has been done to show us that Mace feels incomplete, he doesn’t feel whole because of this. We also have a reverse pyramid shot of Trey’s body, Cassie and Korazon. This reverse pyramid is a symbol of the loss of power. It shows us that the group is no longer structured, with Trey’s body right in the middle of it, almost being the cause of this loss.
Overall Boyle uses music and shots as the main way to portray this theme of self sacrifice. He shows us that all of the crew know the risks, and they accept them. They left earth with the chance that they might die, and follow through with that. Boyle not only brings us a beautiful film, but also an amazing sound track to accompany it. The music to me is just as important as it makes the emotions in each individual scene. To me the movie is a success as the characters are easily relatable. Even though they are astronauts who are doing an impossible mission, they are still human, with very human emotions. I love this movie as it left me with a sense of hope for human kind. We live in a world where the future looks dark, but we don’t think about the future of the future. The movie made me think that we could possibly get by the obstacles that we face, and live life without the worries of famine, global warming and financial recession.