“Sunshine”: (Almost) incredible

I fell in love with astronomy when I was 13. It was a great passion of mine. It’s still painful for me to talk about the fact I didn’t became an astrophysicist. In any case, one’s obsession with space and astronomy makes an excellent SF fan. And when I say SF, I don’t mean on “soft” stuff such as “Star Wars”. I was more into books and movies that deal with science/realistic space, as well as philosophy (for example, “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Contact”).

Danny Boyle’s “Sunshine” is none of that. And yet, it is. Not sure how to explain this. The science behind it is sketchy (though much better than appears at the first glance). The plot has a great premise but a highly questionable third act (in which a psychological drama becomes a slasher flick). A great deal of important info, be it about science, plot or philosophy is missing from the movie and can be found only in director’s commentary. These things make “Sunshine” average at best.

And yet, there’s something about this movie that is truly epic. The designs are perfect in every sense (be it technically accurate or not). But design is not what makes a movie great. Acting was solid and surprisingly realistic. The premise and the themes were quite promising (isolation, religion and science, questions about future of human kind and human nature). These things can be felt in every second of it, even at action packed sequences that have nothing to do with higher issues.

There’s something incredibly captivating about “Sunshine”. About 20 seconds into the movie, we see the space ship with this amazing sun shield and hear character Robert Capa, the physicist, say “Our purpose is to create a star within a star. Eight astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb. My bomb. Welcome to the Icarus Two.” And you’re instantly hooked.

Then fantastic first and second act follow. After that – a complete mess, almost to the point of a genre shift (and not in a good way). This is what most of the people found disappointing. This is what prevents “Sunshine” from being truly epic.

The problem is not the fact they opted for action packed finale that flirts with slasher genre. The problem is that it’s clearly not the point of the film, but they still didn’t show/explored the more important stuff. These things are there, always, but get heavily pushed to the background.

Also, what I find problematic is the fact important information about the science as well as characters is missing. The important issue of religion vs science (which somehow IS the point of the movie) is rather sketched.

Make no mistakes here: this is still a movie about human mind, about ways in which faith and science overlap and contradict each other, about forces of nature that we all depend on. No slasher/action packed third act can’t change that. But it certainly switches the focus in a bad way and doesn’t leave much room for the more important issues.

That’s being said, “Sunshine” is still a good film. I am just sorry it’s not GREAT – and it’s not like it didn’t have an opportunity for it. It could have been one of the best SF movies in history. And one of my favourite movies. I honestly don’t know what went wrong. Still, there’s something incredible, something captivating about it, and it almost makes up for the all bad things.

A note on Cillian Murphy

This guy is a fantastic actor. This might not be his best role, but I must say he was great as Robert Capa: as realistic as you can be. But “Sunshine” aside, he demonstrated his talent and versatility on many occasions, so I do believe he deserves more serious roles.

I am glad he decided against being type-cast as a creep (not that he can’t make a good one… Did you see his eyes?) but there’s more talent in him. There’s something captivating about him too, and not just his strange physical appearance (let’s face it, dude looks like a lady… but without appearing effeminate or gay. And on top of these confusing characteristics, he has a beautiful, deep, masculine voice). The guy can act. I just hope Hollywood doesn’t swallow him up.

Cute boys with PhD

On a sidenote: one thing I found amusing about “Sunshine” is the fact many people complained about actors, especially Cillian Murphy, being “too sexy to be scientists”. Are these people aware how offensive this is? Not to mention inaccurate: no matter what movies taught you, physicists and other scientists are not universally nerdy/unattractive. In fact, Capa looks, dresses and acts a lot like young physicists I know. These guys are into rock music, dress in t-shirts and jeans, and while they might be a bit on a geeky side, it’s usually in a nice way.

Links

Sunshine character backstories

40 thoughts on ““Sunshine”: (Almost) incredible

  1. Hugh

    Sunshine is a movie about nature of God. It is also an homage to whole SF genre, and a good one at that.

    Still, i couldn’t agree more, the slasher aspect and the last half hour are a complete let down. way too many graphic violence and too little philosophy. and this coming from a guy who hates excessive philosophy in movies.

    but i think Boyle managed to redeem himself with the last couple of minutes. the moment space-time continuum breaks and Capa is able to touch the Sun and be the Last Man is perfect. i just wish boyle changed 20 minutes or so that precede this.

    still a really solid movie, but 28 days later owns when it comes to boyle’s work.

    I agree on Cilian (sp?) Murphy being a talented young actor, though hes not that young anymore. The Wind That Shakes the Barley, 28 Days Later… he was really good.

    he was also believable as a girl in breakfast on Pluto. But this is the first time I hear a woman calls him feminine: isn’t he supposed to be a huge chick magnet or something?

    One question: if guy physicists look like capa, what do female physicists look like?

  2. Mira

    It is also an homage to whole SF genre, and a good one at that.

    I agree. It was a good homage, and not plagiarism.

    Still, i couldn’t agree more, the slasher aspect and the last half hour are a complete let down. way too many graphic violence and too little philosophy.

    I don’t mind philosophy in movies; in fact, I like it when it’s appropriate, and it was appropriate here. I believe I read somewhere that slasher aspect was added as a compromise- but I am not sure with what purpose. There was also a sex scene planned but luckily, it was abandoned.

    but i think Boyle managed to redeem himself with the last couple of minutes. the moment space-time continuum breaks and Capa is able to touch the Sun and be the Last Man is perfect.

    Oh yes, that was amazing.

    I agree on Cilian (sp?) Murphy

    I believe it’s spelled Cillian, and it’s definitely pronounced “Killian”, not “Sillian”.

    a talented young actor, though hes not that young anymore.

    I was surprised to learn he’s in his mid 30s. I thought he was younger than me. He does look quite young…

    he was also believable as a girl in breakfast on Pluto. But this is the first time I hear a woman calls him feminine: isn’t he supposed to be a huge chick magnet or something?

    Not sure about the chick magnet, but I never said he was feminine: his face simply has a certain androgynous quality to it. He is not feminine per se, and he does have a very masculine voice.

    One question: if guy physicists look like capa, what do female physicists look like?

    They look like Capa too. Or Ellen Page in “Juno” (minus the pregnancy). You get the idea.

  3. Sigg3

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll be sure to check it out! (Didn’t read your post beyond the first paragraphs in case of SPOILER.)

  4. Mira

    There are moderate spoilers, I’d say.

    But don’t be fooled by the title: the key word is not “incredible”, but “almost”. Sunshine has its qualities and it had a great potential, but didn’t quite use it.

    I’m just saying this to prepare you. It’s always best to have low expectations before watching a movie.

  5. Alex

    Sunshine is a great movie and it’s a shame it’s so underrated! probably one of the best movies of the decade. I would definitely change a few things, but overall, it was a great movie, and the ending was so poignant.

    Capa was so sweet… i think everybody fell in love with him instantly.

    Cillian is a terrific actor. Its a shame he’s so underrated. I can’t believe he never won any significant awards, after all the strong and inspiring performances: The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Breakfast on Pluto, just to name a few.

    i must admit, the first time I saw him I thought he was good but I didn’t find him attractive. His facial features seemed strange to me, a weird combination. But after watching a few movies i’ve realized how attractive this man was! he’s so beautiful!

    His face is an interesting combination of delicate features (eyes, lips) and strong ones (cheekbones, jawline). i understand it’s what some people find strange or even scary about him, but I find him really attractive.

    And his eyes… I could write a thesis on his eyes! mesmerizing beyond words.

    Here’s a photo of Cillian I believe you’d like. I know youre into indie rock/longish hair style! ;)

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_l0kvzgPWIO1qb1oivo1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0RYTHV9YYQ4W5Q3HQMG2&Expires=1288833499&Signature=tT%2FMZXv2kGZmtBosJ8zFac6gUgc%3D

  6. Mira Post author

    Sorry for my late reply.

    Hmmm… How did a note on Cillian Murphy turned into a Cillian Murphy-exclusive thread? Oh well.

    Obsidian

    Thanks for the link, I guess… But your blog seems to be suspended so I have no idea what it was.

    Alex

    Sunshine is a great movie and it’s a shame it’s so underrated!

    I guess many people had high hopes for it but were disappointed with the third act. I can’t say I blame them! Still, I wouldn’t say it ruined the movie completely, it just moved it from what could be a solid 9 or even 10 to 7-8.

    Capa was so sweet… i think everybody fell in love with him instantly.

    There is something irresistible about that character, yes, but I don’t think it’s in a way of falling in love, but in a way of strongly identifying with him. At least it’s like that for me.

    Cillian is a terrific actor. Its a shame he’s so underrated. I can’t believe he never won any significant awards, after all the strong and inspiring performances

    Indeed. The guy is very talented and deserves to be recognized. You must keep in mind he’s European, and many European actors are often overlooked when it comes to major American awards, even if they come from English speaking countries.

    On the other hand, awards mean nothing. There are many extremely talented actors who were never nominated for major awards (Gary Oldman!)

    i must admit, the first time I saw him I thought he was good but I didn’t find him attractive. His facial features seemed strange to me, a weird combination.

    Like I said, the guy looks strange in a way. Not in a BAD way, mind you, but there’s something androgynous about his face that can seem strange. Also, his eyes can look creepy because they are so light.

    But I wouldn’t say the guy himself looks creepy: I think he knows how to use his features to his advantage when it comes to movie roles! His eyes can be creepy or sweet, he can look feminine or masculine, depending on the movie role. It’s a good thing for an actor, this versatility.

    His face is an interesting combination of delicate features (eyes, lips) and strong ones (cheekbones, jawline).

    I think you summed it up quite well.

    Here’s a photo of Cillian I believe you’d like. I know youre into indie rock/longish hair style!

    Thanks, but the link is not working. Could you try posting the image again?

    http://www.capasunshine.com/full/015capa900.jpg

    Oh! Hiroyuki Sanada! I like him. Actually, I think he’s “teh” man in this film.

    And wait a minute… Is that a ponytail on Capa?!?!

  7. Mira Post author

    Melina,

    Welcome and thank you for your compliment!

    Did I hear Cillian Murphy? You girls have an excellent taste!

    lol He is a good actor after all. And he had some pretty good roles and movies, too!

    I didn’t like the way you referred to him as “feminine”, though: the poor guy can’t help being beautiful!

    I never said he was feminine; he isn’t. He just has distinctive facial features that are somewhat androgynous. Meaning, they can be seen as both masculine and feminine traits.

    But these unique facial features are one of the reasons, I guess, for his distinctive appearance. He is intriguing, and that is always good for an actor.

    As for his mannerisms, etc, there’s nothing feminine about them (unless it’s done on purpose, like in “Breakfast on Pluto”), and like I already said, he has a very masculine voice: he has a very deep baritone that can seem surprising at first because he’s skinny, shortish and with delicate features. But he has such a beautiful and masculine voice. < - I really like deep male voices, in case you didn't notice. ;)

    But he can also look pretty masculine. For example:

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l6g00hXk6J1qbuwu1o1_500.jpg

    He actually looks a bit like my husband on those photos! They have a similar jawline, but my husband is more masculine looking, of course, with more beautiful hair. :P

    I could discuss him 24/7. May I? Pretty please?

    Yes. Just try not to go way off topic. =

    Also, you should all check 28 days
    later: you can, um, see ALL of him.

    I know, I’ve seen IT. (The movie I mean). I still can’t believe some people make such a big deal about that nude scene. Fuck movie censorship and double standards!

    (Too bad he has a small member),

    I actually have to stop here for a second. People, please, please, forget about this stereotype! You CAN’T say anything about a guy’s… well, size if he’s not aroused. I repeat: it is impossible to determine a penis size in flaccid state.

    Now, I am not saying determining a penis size is important at all… But if you really want to give it a try, you can’t do it by analyzing a flaccid penis.

    Just saying…

  8. Hugh

    Ladies, slow down… youre cracking me up!

    Cillian Murphy looks hideous and creepy to me, but what do i know… still a good actor though, especially when you think of his Irish movies. just slow down please…

    back on topic, Sunshine works both as homage to other SF movies and as a story on itself, however, consistency is a bit lost in the process, I think.

    But what I really liked about Sunshine is that they didn’t have one simple plan to go through: they had to make a new one and adjust to circumstances. You don’t see this in other movies: there’s usually only major change of plan near the end… And these guys were forced to do it all the time. They had to think of plan, invest in it, calculate the risks… only to see it go wrong and be forced to think of another one. it made it all look more realistic.

    Basically- SPOILER!- If Capa didn’t make the wrong decision, none of it would happen. Thinking about it just makes the whole movie more cool, imo.

    Also, it makes you wonder what would happen. for some reason I doubt they would complete the mission and get back home safely. I’d watch for Searle: he seemed to adopt the obsession with the Sun just like Pinbacker did.

    /SPOILER ENDS HERE/

    Not to mention sets and designs are one of the best i’ve seen in a SF movie, and i watch a lot of ‘em.

    There was a website that had all the characters’ profiles, written by Alex Garland… Their backstories are explained and it does make you understand each of them better (particularly Troy, who in my opinion was underrepresented but is a very important character).

    Try to find it, it’s really interesting.

  9. Dr. Vagrant X

    I saw this movie awhile back and I’ve got to say that it blew me away at first. The cast was perfect, imho, and the directing was top notch. And, up until the final third of the film, the pacing was excellent (this coming from a guy who is almost never pleased with the pacing of most films).

    You’re right, this had the potential to be a stellar SciFi flick, but flopped in the final act. I was really up set when they randomly inserted the crazy burned guy just for some “action” and “tension”. Not only were the subsequent scenes after his arrival predictable, but they were unnecessary. The tension and action could have just as easily been created by them approaching the Sun and realizing that they had made another serious miscalculation or that the payload deployment system had gone haywire or what have you. And that is to say nothing of the “moral” and logical dilemma that could have plagued the crew upon finding out what really happened to the Icarus 1 and her crew.

    Oh well, it’s still a great movie up until the last third.

    Cool blog/journal/thingy btw.

    P.S.-Star Wars is so over hyped in my opinion. The “science”, if one could call it that, borders on fantasy a la Lord of the Rings and I don’t see how one could easily look past the Luke and Leia squick, which always makes me gag.

  10. Mira Post author

    Hugh,

    Ladies, slow down… youre cracking me up!

    Sorry for being caught in a middle of girl talk. Will tell them to behave in the future! ;)

    however, consistency is a bit lost in the process, I think.

    You’re right. I think 28 days later had the same problem… Amazing 2/3 of the movie, and then WTF. But I was always more of a SF fan than horror fan so I care about “Sunshine” more.

    But what I really liked about Sunshine is that they didn’t have one simple plan to go through: they had to make a new one and adjust to circumstances.

    Yes. That’s one of the things I liked the most about the movie. They had to constantly adjust to circumstances and fight the Murphy’s law. It was basically a collection of bad judgments and mistakes… But it was refreshing to watch a story like that one.

    Basically- SPOILER!- If Capa didn’t make the wrong decision, none of it would happen. Thinking about it just makes the whole movie more cool, imo.

    Indeed! I was thinking the same thing! Basically, Capa’s bad decision screwed them all! People may like this character a lot (I know I do), but let’s face it: the guy made a bad decision (it wasn’t completely his fault, though) and it all went downhill from there. I like when characters are flawed, even those who save the mankind!

    I’d watch for Searle: he seemed to adopt the obsession with the Sun just like Pinbacker did.

    True. And those are exactly the things that were hinted, but left unexplored that I’d prefer to see instead of the slasher third act.

    There was a website that had all the characters’ profiles, written by Alex Garland…

    Sounds exciting! I’d like to find it!

  11. Mira Post author

    Dr. Vagrant X,

    Welcome! Glad to see you here. :) (I didn’t forget what you wrote about the portrayal of Eastern Europeans in movies… Thank you for that comment, btw).

    I saw this movie awhile back and I’ve got to say that it blew me away at first. The cast was perfect, imho, and the directing was top notch.

    Yes. It was refreshing to watch such a flick. I like good SF… Brings childhood memories!

    You’re right, this had the potential to be a stellar SciFi flick, but flopped in the final act. I was really up set when they randomly inserted the crazy burned guy just for some “action” and “tension”.

    Right. The saddest thing is, Pinbacker does make sense in the story and I do understand his importance… I just think the way they used the character was wrong. After all, this movie opened several important philosophical questions that were connected to Pinbacker, so I really don’t understand why they opted to show slasher action instead of those. (While the whole point/message of the movie still seems to be about philosophical issues rather than the action).

    Oh well, it’s still a great movie up until the last third.

    Yes, but I must also add that the ending- Capa at the payload bridge and the whole Last Man & breaking of time/space continuum was still rather good. I just didn’t like what was going prior to that.

    Cool blog/journal/thingy btw.

    Thanks!

    P.S.-Star Wars is so over hyped in my opinion.

    Well, Star Wars is basically a fantasy, not SF (and there’s nothing wrong with fantasy per se). But I think people adore Star Wars because it brings childhood memories. I sometimes feel that way about “Back to the Future” movies.

  12. Dr. Vagrant X

    @Mira:

    My pleasure. I think that Eastern Europeans are type casted just as much as any other minority group in Hollywood, and someone needs to bring some attention to that. Heck, outside of Russia, Hollywood would have you think that Eastern Europe is one big hegemonic state where the women are prostitutes, killers, ugly and nagging, or “shameless party girls”, and the men are either thugs, terrorists, killers, or bums. Oh yeah, and everyone speaks broken English or no English *rolls eyes*. It’s really quite pathetic, but I guess that’s how the “Mighty Whitey” stereotype maintains its hold over film.

    Hm…I might just do a post on this, actually.

    Right. The saddest thing is, Pinbacker does make sense in the story and I do understand his importance… I just think the way they used the character was wrong. After all, this movie opened several important philosophical questions that were connected to Pinbacker, so I really don’t understand why they opted to show slasher action instead of those. (While the whole point/message of the movie still seems to be about philosophical issues rather than the action).

    True enough. He could have easily had the role of messing with the crew’s heads, or could done something less overtly damaging to the mission.

    Yes, but I must also add that the ending- Capa at the payload bridge and the whole Last Man & breaking of time/space continuum was still rather good.

    Yeah, that scene was made of nothing but WIN.

    Well, Star Wars is basically a fantasy, not SF (and there’s nothing wrong with fantasy per se). But I think people adore Star Wars because it brings childhood memories. I sometimes feel that way about “Back to the Future” movies.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that there was something wrong with fantasy (I actually some fantasy works), I was simply stating that Star Wars isn’t really SciFi like some fans try to claim it is (e.g.-Lightsabers are impossible in the real world). Other than that, the films are definitely good (4,5, and 6, not 1,2, and 3. Those were hot garbage), just not “Crazy Over-hyped Fandom” good, imo.

    Also, “Back to the Future” is awesome beyond words.

  13. Mira

    Hm…I might just do a post on this, actually.

    Oh, that would be great!

    I was thinking of writing a post on this, but I am never good with things that are that close to home, as I explained here:

    Things I Don’t Write About

    True enough. He could have easily had the role of messing with the crew’s heads, or could done something less overtly damaging to the mission.

    Something like that, yes. And maybe he just needed a better character development. What he does (kills people and sabotages computer) is secondary to why he does it (and interpretations vary on this one). So I’d prefer to learn about it and not the way he kills people.

    BTW, am I the only one who found Cassie (slightly) annoying? I remember I kept thinking in her scenes with Capa: “please, don’t kiss, please please please, we don’t need that crap here”. Luckily, it was all good… But she was still annoying.

    Other than that, the films are definitely good (4,5, and 6, not 1,2, and 3. Those were hot garbage)

    It goes without saying, lol.

    Also, “Back to the Future” is awesome beyond words.

    True! Do you mind asking how old are you? For some reason, I thought you were really young, but it seems you like & remember movies that my generation likes.

  14. Dr. Vagrant X

    I’ll try to draft something up then. I’ll have to spend a little more time than usual to make it good and read well, but it’s about time that my blog matured past inane rants anyway, lol.

    BTW, am I the only one who found Cassie (slightly) annoying?

    lol! No, you aren’t the only one. *Semi-Spoiler Alert* I was actually hoping that she’d be the first to go when the hacking and slashing started. *End Semi-Spoiler Alert*

    True! Do you mind asking how old are you? For some reason, I thought you were really young, but it seems you like & remember movies that my generation likes.

    It must be because of my rants, lol. However, I guess I am somewhat young, relatively speaking. I’m 22 (going on 23 in about 5 months, which makes me sad.) so I missed the awesomeness that was the 80’s, but most of the stuff I watched, read, etc. as a kid was “old stuff”. I love movies from the 80’s (Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China, Au Revoir Les Enfants, The Last Unicorn, etc.), and the cartoons (He-Man, Thunder Cats, Transformers, etc.).

    Also, my parents and older sister were into the older stuff, so that’s pretty much what they exposed me to.

  15. Mira Post author

    I’ll try to draft something up then. I’ll have to spend a little more time than usual to make it good and read well, but it’s about time that my blog matured past inane rants anyway, lol.

    No pressure. But I’d certainly love to read it. I’d like to see what non-Eastern Europeans see this problem. (If they see it at all).

    lol! No, you aren’t the only one. *Semi-Spoiler Alert* I was actually hoping that she’d be the first to go when the hacking and slashing started. *End Semi-Spoiler Alert*

    True!

    Well, I managed to find character backstories Hugh recommended. Apparently, Cassie was in a fragile mental state the whole mission because she had an abortion before it. Not sure if that explains her annoying behavior, though. It is also hinted Mace had a thing for her.

    Take a look:

    Sunshine character backstories

    All in all, “Sunshine” was an excellent movie 2/3… The third act makes sense now when you think of it, but it wasn’t handled really well.

    Compare this to another work by the same authors: “28 Days Later”. I don’t know if you’ve seen this one (it’s really, really good… I mean, REALLY good, probably one of the best movies of the decade).

    It is similar to Sunshine in a way it changes perspective 2/3 into the movie- but here, it was handled very well, in a way that makes perfect sense and an important point. In short, it’s when a movie that seemed to be about zombies reveals to be about human nature instead. And it’s EXCELLENT.

    The last third of “Sunshine” should prove that it’s, too, a movie about human nature, or, perhaps, nature of God… But unlike “28 Days Later”, the excessive action didn’t go well with the rest of the story and the point was somewhat lost, I think.

    Still, “Sunshine” remains to be one of my favourite contemporary SF movies. Nothing beats “Contact” in my book, though.

    It must be because of my rants, lol.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong! Your blog posts are quite good and not “immature” in any way. I just believe I remember reading something about you being in your early 20s… Not that it’s soooo much younger than my age (I am 29).

    However, I guess I am somewhat young, relatively speaking. I’m 22 (going on 23 in about 5 months, which makes me sad.)

    Oh, why? 23 is a pretty good age. You are an adult, but still young enough. :D

    (Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China, Au Revoir Les Enfants, The Last Unicorn, etc.), and the cartoons (He-Man, Thunder Cats, Transformers, etc.).

    Nice list! I like some of these and watched them when I was a kid!

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  17. Dr. Vagrant X

    Thanks for the link. I always like reading back stories, it gives the characters more depth in my mind. However, it’s nothing personal, but Cassie was still kind of annoying. lol

    Compare this to another work by the same authors: “28 Days Later”. I don’t know if you’ve seen this one (it’s really, really good… I mean, REALLY good, probably one of the best movies of the decade).

    28 Days Later is currently number 1 on my top 10 films of the decade (Sunshine is currently number 5). The directing was excellent, the story was great, and the POC character actually had real depth (read: wasn’t a stereotype) and could be related to. I definitely thought it was an excellent piece on the human condition, and how fragile and twisted the human mind can be.

    Oh, why? 23 is a pretty good age. You are an adult, but still young enough.

    I suppose, I guess I just feel like I’m getting old (i.e.-middle aged). It’s silly, of course, but occasionally I can’t help but wish time would slow down a bit and let me catch up. Like I said, silly, but that’s how it is sometimes. :P

  18. Mira

    Thanks for the link. I always like reading back stories, it gives the characters more depth in my mind.

    True, it can help understand characters better. However, in this case, I am not sure how helpful it was (for some characters at least). Some of them have really stereotypical back stories. And we didn’t learn anything really new about, say, Corazon, or Kaneda… Or even Capa.

    However, it’s nothing personal, but Cassie was still kind of annoying. lol

    Cassie is the type of female characters I don’t like. We are supposed to like her and sympathize with her, but instead we are just annoyed at how great she is supposed to be. With such a backstory (which is, btw, really cliche, but ok), one would expect Cassie to be really messed up. We don’t see this- she is almost made into a love interest, which is highly annoying. Not to mention she seems like one of those people who tend to moralize all the time and offer their advice when nobody asked for it.

    28 Days Later is currently number 1 on my top 10 films of the decade (Sunshine is currently number 5).

    Oh, really? I like reading those lists, and I am planning on making one at the end of the year. I don’t know about the US, but here, the decade started in 2001, so there is no way I could do the list last year, when everybody else seemed to made those lists.

    But this is what I can tell about my list so far:

    – It would be extremely difficult to choose only 10 movies.
    – I haven’t seen many of the films people claim to be the decade’s best.
    – My list would probably feature several movies starring Cillian Murphy (more than any other actor- and I am not, by any means, a fangirl).
    -There will be no Dark Knight on my list. I think I am the only one who isn’t crazy about that movie, Gary Oldman or not.

    The directing was excellent, the story was great, and the POC character actually had real depth (read: wasn’t a stereotype) and could be related to.

    This is interesting to hear. I liked Selena and thought she was a good character… But what do I know?

    True, she was a tough character at the beginning, but she didn’t seem like the “strong black woman” stereotype, particularly given the fact she does show a lot of feelings, she cries, etc. She says she’d leave Hannah and her father behind is they slow her down, but of course she doesn’t do that.

    I also think they handled the interracial aspect of a relationship quite well, as a no-issue. But it’s how the things often go in European movies: interracial relationships are often treated as a no big deal. I have no idea if it’s like that in reality, but it sure is different (in a good way) than in most of the American movies. If nothing else, the POC character (especially black woman) can be a legitimate love interest as a person, not as a POC (black) woman, and she is allowed to be such love interest in a movie that is NOT about interracial romance. Things like this don’t seem to happen in American movies.

    What do you think about the way they handled race in “Sunshine”, btw?

    Oh, all this talk about 28 days later made me want to do a post on it.

    I suppose, I guess I just feel like I’m getting old (i.e.-middle aged).

    I hear you… But why 23? People often get this at the milestone birthdays, 20, 30, 40… Or is it like this every year for you?

  19. Dr. Vagrant X

    . I don’t know about the US, but here, the decade started in 2001, so there is no way I could do the list last year, when everybody else seemed to made those lists.

    Well I’m not sure about everyone else, but 2001 was the start of the decade for me as well, so that’s why my “Top Ten Movies of the Decade” will probably be out some time in Decembre.

    - I haven’t seen many of the films people claim to be the decade’s best.
    – My list would probably feature several movies starring Cillian Murphy (more than any other actor- and I am not, by any means, a fangirl).
    -There will be no Dark Knight on my list. I think I am the only one who isn’t crazy about that movie, Gary Oldman or not.

    It’s much the same for me. Most of the films that the critics liked I found to be pretty insipid. Also, Murphy must have lucked out, because he got some surprisingly good roles and was able to carry them well (However, even though you deny it, you do sound kind of like a fan girl. lol, just kidding). As far as the Dark Knight is concerned, I’ve never even seen it to be honest. I love the Batman comics, but I’ve never been able to get into the movies (except for the time they actually got the casting right, and got George Clooney to play Batman. It’s too bad the movie itself was so awful).

    True, she was a tough character at the beginning, but she didn’t seem like the “strong black woman” stereotype, particularly given the fact she does show a lot of feelings, she cries, etc. She says she’d leave Hannah and her father behind is they slow her down, but of course she doesn’t do that.

    And this is exactly why I liked her character. She was three dimensional. Even though she started off as a potential stereotype, she quickly proved herself to simply be a person trying to cope with a terrifying reality. 28 Days Later was a rare occasion when a person of colour was just that: A person.

    Things like this don’t seem to happen in American movies.

    Don’t even get me started on this…

    What do you think about the way they handled race in “Sunshine”, btw?

    At first, if I’m being completely honest, I was rather surprised and slightly miffed about the fact there wasn’t a Latino or black guy or gal as part of the crew, but then I got over myself. As far as race was concerned, while at times I got an uneasy vibe, overall I thought it was well done. People were, on the whole, simply presented as people.

    Oh, all this talk about 28 days later made me want to do a post on it.

    Can’t wait to read it! :)

    I hear you… But why 23? People often get this at the milestone birthdays, 20, 30, 40… Or is it like this every year for you?

    Well in 25, in the States at least, is considered to be over the metaphorical hill. Less vaguely, it simply means it’s all down hill (physically at least) from 25 on. Knowing what I know about the human body and how true that statement is (i.e.-most development/growing is done at the age of 25 or so), it’s kind of like realizing my “youth” is approaching its zenith, and after that…well who knows.

    Sorry if this is kind of depressing for you. I didn’t mean it to be that way, lol.

  20. Mira

    Well I’m not sure about everyone else, but 2001 was the start of the decade for me as well, so that’s why my “Top Ten Movies of the Decade” will probably be out some time in Decembre.

    Yeah, well… Makes sense (decade DID start in 2001), so I really don’t have a clue why so many people rushed to make their lists at the end of the past year.

    It’s much the same for me. Most of the films that the critics liked I found to be pretty insipid.

    This is true. Also, there are so many that everybody talks about, but I haven’t seen them. (No Country For Old Men, for example. And I like Javier! And Coen brothers.)

    Also, Murphy must have lucked out, because he got some surprisingly good roles and was able to carry them well

    It was a good decade for him. (As far as I know, he did start in 2001). It’s refreshing to see a quality young actor. It’s not something you see every day.

    (However, even though you deny it, you do sound kind of like a fan girl. lol, just kidding).

    Oh, why? (what gave me away? :D)

    I am not a fangirl in a way I think he’s super-hot (he’s not my type at all… too (how shall I put this?) light for my taste), but I do think he’s a good actor. Not one of the best in history, but quite good. Maybe one of the better (best?) of his generation. He chose his roles wisely and showed a surprising level of versatility. I can appreciate that and rant about it, even if it make me look like a fan girl. ;)

    As far as the Dark Knight is concerned, I’ve never even seen it to be honest.

    It’s good. And Heath Ledger was great. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent movie. It’s just not THAT good. (It’s one of those things when you get your hopes high for a movie, but it turns out to be just ok- and not one of the greatest movies in history like people claimed).

    And this is exactly why I liked her character. She was three dimensional.

    They managed to make her realistic (as much as something in such a movie can be realistic) as possible. But she wasn’t a tough black girl stereotype, and I liked it. I like Selena. I think all girls want to be like her.

    At first, if I’m being completely honest, I was rather surprised and slightly miffed about the fact there wasn’t a Latino or black guy or gal as part of the crew, but then I got over myself.

    Well, true. I am not sure what to think about racial aspects of that movie. In a way, I am glad they didn’t include the token black guy (I guess Maori guy doesn’t count as black), or more women. With simpler casting choice, there would be at least 3 women, one black person and one Latino (and possibly one gay). The fact it wasn’t here was in a way refreshing.

    However, this doesn’t mean I don’t get if black people felt (once again) they are not represented or that they (once again) don’t have a chance to save the world.

    Also, I didn’t help but noticing that two whites are the last ones to survive (one of them being the most annoying character in the movie), and that, once again, a white guy saved the world. But I do think racial aspects were handled a bit better than elsewhere. If nothing else, none of them was a token or a stereotype, so it was a plus.

    Can’t wait to read it! :)

    I’ll try to find some time to write it. I might watch it again. I think I forgot a few things.

    Knowing what I know about the human body and how true that statement is (i.e.-most development/growing is done at the age of 25 or so), it’s kind of like realizing my “youth” is approaching its zenith, and after that…well who knows.

    Well, I do notice more and more gray hairs, that’s for sure!

    But now I begin to understand some people in their 40s who say they wouldn’t want to be teenagers again. It’s cool when your body is young, but it’s difficult to live with an immature mind sometimes.

  21. Melina

    “lol He is a good actor after all. And he had some pretty good roles and movies, too!”

    I agree. He is an AMAZING actor. His looks are just a bonus.

    “I never said he was feminine; he isn’t.”

    Of course he isn’t! He’s Irish, after all! ;)

    “He just has distinctive facial features that are somewhat androgynous. Meaning, they can be seen as both masculine and feminine traits.”

    I think I understand where youre coming from, but to me, there’s nothing feminine about his features. He is just really pretty, more than men usually are… but no, he doesn’t look like a woman!

    He does have these long eyelashes that make his beautiful unbelievable blue eyes even more striking, but that’s not a bad thing, is it?

    “He is intriguing, and that is always good for an actor.”

    I agree 100%!!!

    “As for his mannerisms, etc, there’s nothing feminine about them (unless it’s done on purpose, like in “Breakfast on Pluto”),”

    Some people say his mannerisms are not masucline, but I honestly disagree… he walks like a typical guy (he even has that bad posture! oh, Cillian!), he gesticulates like a guy, he makes facial expressions like a guy…

    He is thin and (sorry to say this) short, but there are plenty of masculine guys out there who are short and skinny! So what? oh yes, and he has this beautiful, unbelievable face, so i gues people are just jealous of him.

    “and like I already said, he has a very masculine voice: he has a very deep baritone that can seem surprising at first because he’s skinny, shortish and with delicate features. But he has such a beautiful and masculine voice. < – I really like deep male voices, in case you didn't notice. ;)"

    I agree!!! His voice is AMAZING! it's really deep and manly. it's really apparent when he's speaking in his delicious Irish accent mmmmm Such a deep voice. i love it!

    "He actually looks a bit like my husband on those photos!"

    Really? Lucky! any photos to share?

    "Yes. Just try not to go way off topic."

    I'll do my best. thank you!

  22. Mira Post author

    Melina,

    Of course he isn’t! He’s Irish, after all! ;)

    Ethnic stereotypes much?

    I think I understand where youre coming from, but to me, there’s nothing feminine about his features. He is just really pretty, more than men usually are… but no, he doesn’t look like a woman!

    Well, people are not used to men who have such delicate features. I still think “androgynous” is the best word to describe his face. It’s not a bad thing, though.

    I agree!!! His voice is AMAZING! it’s really deep and manly. it’s really apparent when he’s speaking in his delicious Irish accent mmmmm Such a deep voice. i love it!

    Yes, I did notice that his voice changes with the accent. He speaks a bit higher when talking in an American accent. With his native accent, he’s voice is really deep. I mean. Really. Deep.

    Really? Lucky! any photos to share?

    My husband is really shy and dislikes any idea of his photos appearing online.

  23. Melina

    “Ethnic stereotypes much?”

    Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I like Irish men!

    “Well, people are not used to men who have such delicate features. I still think “androgynous” is the best word to describe his face. It’s not a bad thing, though.”

    Simply put, his face is perfect.
    and whatever you say, i don’t think saying he’s androgynous is fair. There’s nothing feminine about him. I hate macho men anyway.

    “Yes, I did notice that his voice changes with the accent. He speaks a bit higher when talking in an American accent. With his native accent, he’s voice is really deep. I mean. Really. Deep.”

    I did notice it. He speaks a bit higher when using an American accent. Still deep, though. But I adore his Irish accent!

    “My husband is really shy and dislikes any idea of his photos appearing online.”

    Too bad, but I understand.

    Since we’re at Cillian, what are your fav roles? Movies? Characters? Please, share!

  24. Mira Post author

    Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I like Irish men!

    That’s cool, but I guess there are feminine Irish men out there.

    Simply put, his face is perfect.
    and whatever you say, i don’t think saying he’s androgynous is fair. There’s nothing feminine about him. I hate macho men anyway.

    I am not into macho men either, but Cillian is way too delicate. But to each her own I guess.

    I did notice it. He speaks a bit higher when using an American accent. Still deep, though. But I adore his Irish accent!

    I have no idea how good he is with the American accent(s). All I know he wasn’t satisfied with his English accent in 28 Days Later and that’s why he ended up speaking in his own accent.

    Since we’re at Cillian, what are your fav roles? Movies? Characters? Please, share!

    Movies? Breakfast on Pluto is first that comes to mind. Probably his best, and his best role. I also like Intermission, 28 Days Later, Sunshine… How Harry Became a Tree… I like most of his movies.

    As for acting performances, as much as he was amazing as Kitten, I have to say: Disco Pigs. That was beyond words. I had no idea a performance can be so tender and scary… at the same time.

    As for characters, I’d say Kitten and Capa.

  25. Dr. Vagrant X

    Just curious… Is Sunshine still on your list? I re-watched it and I picked up some interesting details I’ve missed the first time.

    Hm, I’m not so sure. Right now I’m focusing on my top 5 (reviewing/watching them one more time), but it’s still definitely a contender for the top 10.

  26. Mira

    I am pretty sure about my top 5: Mike Leigh’s All or Nothing, Breakfast on Pluto, Gosford Park, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Amelie.

    I know the last two have a huge hype backlash, but they have made such a strong impact on me (especially Amelie).

    Sunshine might still make it to the top 10, although I am not sure about it (top 20 maybe). There will be way too many Cillian Murphy movies on the list (28 Days Later is there, and I am thinking about Intermission, too).

  27. Dr. Vagrant X

    For me the top five are currently: Time (Korean), Amelie (French), Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico/Spain(?)), Spirited Away (Japanese), and Donnie Darko (United States). Not necessarily in that order though, I’ve still got to weigh them against one another. :P

    I didn’t know anything about the hype surrounding Amelie, so I have to say I enjoyed it simply for what it was. And I loved every bizarre minute of it.

    Also, I’m in the same boat. Sunshine is struggling to remain in the top 10 right now, but, then again, the last 5 are harder to decide on than the top 5. lol. :D

    What’s the “Intermission” by the way?

  28. Mira

    What? No more 28 Days Later in the Top 5?

    I haven’t seen Spirited Away or Time! It looks like my list is way too Western based, which sucks a big time.

    Pan’s Labyrinth is an excellent movie, one of the best of the decade. But my list is more along the lines of favourite movies, movies that made a huge impact on me, and not simply the best movies.

    I didn’t know anything about the hype surrounding Amelie, so I have to say I enjoyed it simply for what it was. And I loved every bizarre minute of it.

    Amelie is one of my fav movies. I first watched it in a period of my life when I was depressed and lonely and it gave me hope, so much hope and regardless of its qualities, it simply made such a great impact on me that it had to be on top of my list.

    As for the hype, I was unaware of it. But lately, I’ve been reading more and more about it being “overrated”. I guess that’s how it goes with films that both critics and the audience like- people expect them to be amazing in every aspect. And while I do find Amelie amazing, some people obviously expected more and were disappointed.

    Also, I’m in the same boat. Sunshine is struggling to remain in the top 10 right now, but, then again, the last 5 are harder to decide on than the top 5.

    Currently, only nostalgia for my teenage years, love for space and Capa’s ponytail are holding Sunshine in the Top 10. lol

    I will probably give a list of honorable mentions, for movies that didn’t make it to Top 10.

    What’s the “Intermission” by the way?

    “Intermission” is an excellent and crazy Irish movie. It has an ensemble cast. The story is fairly simple, but told in a complicated way, and all the characters are connected in different ways (there are around 10 separate stories going on).

    So you had a guy who wanted to play games with his girl but is devastated that she broke up with him, an older guy dating a younger woman, a girl with a mustache, a crazy cop, lonely young men and lonely middle-aged women, a criminal, a kid prone to anarchy and lots of brown sauce in tea.

    But somehow, the end result is excellent. In short, it’s a story about people, and life, and men behaving stupid, and Ireland, told in an interesting way. Oh, and Colin Farrell totally steals the show.

    I guess I liked it because it was really similar to Serbia and Serbian people, but I was more relaxed because I wasn’t emotionally attached to it (whenever I watch any movie about Serbia/Balkans/Eastern Europe I am scared of the way they portrayed us).

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332658/

  29. Sigg3

    I had expectations (not the best), but they were met. I find it strange I haven’t heard about this movie before, it is pretty beautiful.

    It does draw a lot on Event Horizon, in my opinion. But that’s not a negative thing at all.

  30. Mira

    It does draw a lot on Event Horizon, in my opinion. But that’s not a negative thing at all.

    I think the only problem might be the fact it draws a lot on BOTH Event Horizon and Space Oddyssey. Which is not a bad thing, but the Event Horizon bit wasn’t hinted at all for the first 2/3 of the movie, so when it came, it was WTF!

    I am not saying it didn’t make sense, because it did, but it came out of nowhere.

  31. Dr. Vagrant X

    Okay, Time I can understand seeing how as it was an independent/art film, but you’ve never seen Spirited Away!? You. Must. Rent. It! Okay, it’s not that serious, but it is a really good movie with excellent animation. lol :P

    Links:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0497986/

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245429/

    Don’t let the simple synopsis of Time scare you off. It really is a good movie that’s moving on many levels. There is some symbolism involved, but there are also multiple meanings to this film regardless.

    Pan’s Labyrinth is an excellent movie, one of the best of the decade. But my list is more along the lines of favourite movies, movies that made a huge impact on me, and not simply the best movies.

    Well that’s just it, Pan’s Labyrinth did have a huge impact for me. For some reason watching it really inspired me to start writing again when I had thought to give writing up, and every time I watch it I get the same feeling. Plus, for some odd reason, I can watch it a million times (obvious exaggeration) and it never gets old.

    Currently, only nostalgia for my teenage years, love for space and Capa’s ponytail are holding Sunshine in the Top 10. lol

    I will probably give a list of honorable mentions, for movies that didn’t make it to Top 10.

    Wow, lol, that nostalgia must really be powerful, or that ponytail must be the sexist one you’ve ever seen. lol, just kidding.

    Also, there’s an idea. I hadn’t thought of adding an honorable mentions section. Thanks for the idea!

    “Intermission” is an excellent and crazy Irish movie. It has an ensemble cast. The story is fairly simple, but told in a complicated way, and all the characters are connected in different ways (there are around 10 separate stories going on).

    This sounds excellent. I’m definitely going to check it out the first chance I get. Thanks for the recommendation, I love these kind of “slice of life” films, especially when they feature elements of dysfunction.

  32. Mira Post author

    but you’ve never seen Spirited Away!? You. Must. Rent. It!

    I know, I know. I just never had the chance.

    Well that’s just it, Pan’s Labyrinth did have a huge impact for me.

    I am glad this movie helped you. And it’s sure great to hear you decided against giving up when it comes to writing.

    (Is some of it available, or is it too personal?)

    Wow, lol, that nostalgia must really be powerful, or that ponytail must be the sexist one you’ve ever seen. lol, just kidding.

    Nostalgia for this IS powerful. For a great deal of my developing years I based my (professional) identity around the fact I’ll be an astrophysicist one day. I still sad it didn’t happen.

    As for the ponytail, it’s really hot (I am into long haired men).

    Also, there’s an idea. I hadn’t thought of adding an honorable mentions section. Thanks for the idea!

    Well, it’s the only thing that makes sense. I sure want to mention some movies that won’t make the top 10 list, but were amazing nevertheless.

    This sounds excellent. I’m definitely going to check it out the first chance I get. Thanks for the recommendation, I love these kind of “slice of life” films, especially when they feature elements of dysfunction.

    There’s dysfunction all the way! One could argue all stories in the film are about it, be it in a way of dysfunctional society or dysfunctional relationships.

    On, and it has a fantastic opening scene… You’ll see. :D

  33. Dr. Vagrant X

    @Mira:

    (Is some of it available, or is it too personal?)

    Well if I ever get around to transferring the old document files from my old, now defunct, pc I’ll be happy to share some of the stuff I’ve written. :)

    Also, random aside,I finally got paid, so I’m going to rent “Intermission” tomorrow. I’m kind of excited to see it given your critique. :P

  34. Dr. Vagrant X

    I think I’ll do a formal review later, but, as far as Intermission is concerned, it was definitely a good film. I really enjoyed the quirkiness and dysfunction. In a way, some of the zaniness really hit home, but in a funny way. And you’re right, Collin Farrell did steal the show…well maybe him and Shirley Henderson’s mustache. lol

  35. Mira Post author

    Oh yes, how could I forget about her mustache! But that one was sad, while Colin Farrell… Well, I felt bad for that girl, and then I felt even worse because I laughed at violence.

    I’d love to read your formal review.

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