Director: Danny Boyle
Written by: John August
Score by: Danny Elfman
Elias Koteas as Thomas
Derek Luke as Jim
Noah Emmerich as Ron
Jim Broadbent as the Mayor
Robin Wright Penn as Jennifer
Tagline: "What would you give up for Heaven?"
Synopsis: Thomas has nothing except his two friends, Ron and Jim. He has a horrible job as a salesman and is still in love with his ex-wife, Beth. He has known Ron and Jim ever since elementary school and they have been his only friends. Thomas always talks about fixing things with Beth but he never really does anything, even though his friends always try to convince him to do it.
After work one night, Thomas falls asleep on the train home and misses his stop. He gets off at the second stop after his and hears strange music. He walks toward the woods and sees a small village. Everyone is barefoot and happy, Thomas smiles for the first time in what seems like forever. The mayor says to stay and be merry and nothing costs any money. Thomas stays the night. He wakes up the next morning and thanks the mayor so much and is late for work.
Thomas goes to work and tells Ron and Jim about the village that seemed to be set back in time and like Heaven. He takes them there after work, but to his dismay, the town is not there. Ron and Jim think he’s crazy and leave. Thomas asks them to wait but they don’t listen. He hears the music and steps inside. The village is still there and a girl comes up to him. Her name is Jennifer and they dance. After a while, Thomas asks the mayor if he can bring his friends to the village. The mayor says no, only people who need the village can get in. Thomas is deeply sad, for he wanted to stay there with his friends forever. Jennifer comes over and they spend the night together.
Thomas wakes up and is late for work again. Before he leaves, Jennifer gives him a red flower. Thomas finds this strange because it is winter and flowers don’t bloom for two more months. He puts it in his pocket…
At work he brings his friends over to show them the flower, as proof that he went to the village. He reaches into his pocket and can’t find it and says it must have fallen out. Ron and Jim say to stop living in a fantasy and go fix things up with Beth. He leaves in the middle of work and his boss fires him.
He goes back to the village and pleads to the mayor to let his friends stay with him in the village; the mayor says he had a choice: his friends on the “outside” or his personal Heaven in the woods. Thomas decides that his friends are too important to abandon even though Jennifer wants him to stay with her forever. He leaves the village.
After Thomas walks out he takes a train to his ex-wife’s house and knocks on the door…
Ron is out trying to find Thomas and goes to the woods where Thomas says the village was. He looks on the ground and sees something on the snow. A red flower.
What the Press would say:With films like SUNSHINE and MILLIONS under his belt, Danny Boyle has gone to a new level that is not dark or bloody, but golden and seemingly perfect place in a world made up of imperfections. With a collaboration with John August (the writer of BIG FISH and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY) Boyle’s newest masterpiece, SUNBURN, has an almost magical feel to it, and brings hope to a dismal world. Semi-unknown character actor Elias Koteas uses his lined face and torn persona to become a reserved and tortured soul who, because of past sorrow, has become distant of everyone around him. Koteas does the amazing job of seeming just tired of the world and truly desperate when he finds the perfect village. He isn’t exactly joyous when he finds it, and has an amazingly complex mix of sadness and happiness when he visits and leaves it. The art direction is superb and the supporting cast is also impressive. Boyle does a masterful job at underlying reality in darkness and gray, and the magical village in a discreetly bright and golden color. The screenplay leaves much to the director and actors, and does a great job at setting up an environment. This may be in our world, or maybe not. The blend of reality and fiction is seamless, and the story of it is timeless, which makes SUNBURN a film that will never be dated and is magical and heartbreaking for all generations.
Best Actor (Koteas)
Best Director (Danny Boyle)
Best Original Screenplay (John August)
Best Art Direction