Watch Last Sunrise
- 38 min
As the sun sets for the final time, Last Sunrise weaves a story about two strangers who embark on a journey to witness the last sunrise ever to grace the planet earth. Created by directors Wen Ren and Xia Hou, this science fiction drama takes an unorthodox approach to the apocalypse genre. The film begins with a voiceover explaining that Earth's sun is rapidly nearing the end of its life cycle. With only 24 hours left until the sun is extinguished, humanity scrambles to find a solution to their impending doom. But two characters, one a scientist looking to complete his life's work and the other an artist who is ardent to experience the last sunrise, embark on a journey towards hope, salvation, and a last ditch effort to save the planet Earth.
Director Wen Ren takes the familiar apocalyptic landscape of "end of the world" stories, however, adds a unique twist in the form of his science fiction lens. Rather than focusing on traditional elements of disaster movies, Last Sunrise explores the genre by creating a world where an advanced human civilization has found a way to manipulate time and duplicate the earth in a parallel universe. It's a captivating concept that brings an authenticity to the movie that other science fiction films never achieve.
The film owes much of its success to the impactful performances of its two leads, Nanrisa Lee and Chris Seals. Lee plays the role of Sun, an enthusiastic and quirky artist who is determined to experience the last sunrise on Earth. Her performance is heart-warming and optimistic, without feeling saccharine. Seals' character, Hao, is a scientist who is conflicted between fulfilling his life's work and the impending doom of humanity. Seals gives a raw performance that reflects the struggles of a character balancing the search for the truth with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Furthermore, the film also challenges the stereotypes of gender and their roles in a time of crisis. Their relationship begins as purely transactional, but as the film progresses, they find solace in one another as they both deal with the grief of the world ending. Their relationship provides a refreshing, subtle commentary about what it means to connect and love someone, especially in a world where the end seems inevitable.
The cinematography, by Oscar Li, captures the beauty of the Earth's natural landscapes in a way that feels almost painful, as if viewers are expressing the same sadness that our two protagonists feel towards their (and our) world. Li's eye for detail and ambitious camera work add another layer of artistic depth to the film, creating captivating and thought-provoking images.
But Last Sunrise is not without its drawbacks. The film has moments that lag or drag out for longer than necessary, which can detract from the overall pacing. Additionally, the dialogue, especially in the beginning, can feel stilted and predictable. While this is par for the course in the genre, it can lead to moments that feel forced rather than genuine.
However, these issues are largely negligible when considering the depth of the plot and its universe. The artificial intelligence machines that control the parallel universe in order to ensure the survival of humanity add a terrifying and thought-provoking component to the story. While some of the tech that the characters interact with in the movie seems too advanced for humanity's current understanding, it's a concept that is fascinating to explore.
In the end, Last Sunrise is a worthwhile addition to the apocalypse genre. The film's focus on characterization sets it apart from other sci-fi films, giving it an emotional heft that can be hard to find in a genre that typically deals with disasters as spectacle. It's a film that stays with the viewer long after the credits roll - a thoughtful exploration of hope, love, and the complexities of humanity in the face of disaster.