In the end the story sags a bit as it strays from the crew trying to keep up with decisions they are forced to make under rapidly deteriorating conditions, to a more boilerplate suspense thriller. Despite this turn, Sunshine is solid, reflective entertainment that refuses to sacrifice compelling storytelling on the altar of bigger and better explosions.

Editor’s Note: Be warned, the cautions below reveal “spoilers” about the film’s plot. If you would rather not know, just be aware that Sunshine is violent and gruesome in places and earns its “R” rating.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: None, although a depressed man is given sedatives.
  • Language/Profanity: A moderate amount of profanity and vulgarity uttered under great stress.
  • Sexual Content: None.
  • Violence: Two crew members get into fistfights a couple of times. Several characters are brutally killed or murdered. Several are slashed or murdered with a high-tech scalpel. One commits suicide by slashing his wrists; we don’t see him do it, but his corpse is shown. Another dies in the vacuum of space. Another is frozen and partially crushed in a coolant tank.  Horribly burned by overexposure to the sun’s rays, one character terrorizes the rest. Several characters are incinerated by the sun’s unfiltered rays, and their ashes fill the ship.
  • Worldview: Although it’s never put exactly this way, the crew assumes that the end (their mission to save humanity) justifies just about any means. Several discussions take place addressing how one or all of them are expendable if necessary to achieve their ultimate goal. The practical application of this mindset leads them to do the unthinkable. A madman raves about his discussions with God and his desire to carry out God’s will, which is to allow humanity to die.