Saturday, May 5, 2007
The sun is dying.
It's fifty years in the future, and the fire of our main energy source for light, heat and health is running out. A crew of eight men and women are sent into space carrying a massive bomb with a thermonuclear payload the size of Manhattan in order to re-ignite it. Seven years earlier, another ship, the Icarus I, had been launched, but contact was lost. After moving away from Earth, the Icarus II, our protagonists, have picked up a distress beacon set out by the original ship. Capa (Cillian Murphy), the physicist who controls the bomb is asked by Captain Kaneda (Hiroyuki Sanada) to decide whether to change course and approach the initial Icarus. Reasoning that their success is theoretical anyway, he decides the pros outweigh the cons, and the possibility of getting another bomb, just in case their bomb is faulty.
As it may sound, this film owes a large debt to that triptych of intelligent, adult science fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris and Alien, and, although, having not seen Solaris, I can most certainly attest that the film does follow similar guidelines that the other two adhere to, including **SPOILER** a wild'n-out/deathfest of a finale, although who is going to go and when and where is just as unpredictable **END SPOILERS**.
It is a magnificent-looking film, and all the more amazing considering on the lesser budget it was made on. Director Danny Boyle has shown on many occasions (such as Trainspotting and 28 Days Later) that he knows how to get the most out of limited tools, and here he evokes the big names of science-fiction without attempting to outspend them. Also, not having the budget, Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland have infused yet another film with a captivating story, rather than just a bunch of flashy setpieces.
The eight main actors (Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity & Benedict Wong) also do excellent work, managing to separate themselves as real people with real tendencies and real actions. There's no one being contrary just to create convenient villains; in this film, the only antagonist is possibly failing the mission, not any lame evil alien **SPOILER**(and even when it does turn violent, it's bore out of a natural situation featuring a crazy, random unstoppable killing machine, not just a random unstoppable killing machine monster thing, ha)**END SPOILERS**
All in all, a fantastic film, and deserves its place among the greats.
9/10, #2 of 2007