One day, the sun will set in the West and will fail to rise from the East. Thankfully, for us at least, that day is a long, long time away.
In Wen Ren’s (“Finding Tomorrow (Short)”, “Café Glass (Short)”) first feature length film, he looks at that scenario, kind of. You see, although we are in the future, mankind is getting on just fine.
They’ve harnessed the power of the sun to great effect, to such an effect that virtually everything is solar powered. So, when the Sun suddenly disappears one day, plunging the Earth into a perpetual night, things look bleak.
25-year old amateur astrologer Sun Yang, Jue Zhang (“The King Of The Drift”), spots the another star had vanished earlier, but is too late to do anything about it. Yang is a loner, preferring the company of his AI over anyone human.
When he races into his neighbour’s apartment to see the Sun vanish, he little realises the forces that will thrust these two together. Chen Mu, Yue Zhang, isn’t having a great time of things when Yang bursts into her apartment, he doesn’t have windows in his, and announces the Sun is going to end.
Yang reluctantly agrees to join forces with Mu, particularly when she announces she has a car, and they race to the man they refer to as the Sun God, the man who has brought solar power to the masses.
He tells Yang to head to District 4 and that there, just maybe, there’s someway that they’ll be able to survive as the Milky Way disbands and the Earth’s temperatures plummet.
The journey sees the pair face all sorts of bandits, including some that have kickstarted an old coal-fired power station and are using slave labour to keep it going, providing them with electricity.
Ultimately though, this is all about the journey both Yang and Mu make. How they, unlike the planets above them that are racing away from each, are being pulled closer and closer together, revealing more and more about themselves to each other.
Last Sunrise is a truly beautiful film, the story is a lovely-one of hope, love and not giving up. The effects are good, very good when you consider the budget was just $250,000.
Sure, it isn’t without its faults. The number of times the pair come across as naive is staggering and does get frustrating as they continuously make mistake after mistake.
The saving grace from that is the performance Wren gets from his leading lady Yue Zhang. It’s a wonderfully, heartfelt performance, as she imbues Mu with a sort of naivety but also a determination and sense of fun that lifts the move each time she’s afforded the opportunity.
Jue Zhang meanwhile has the computer geek, uncomfortable around people, angle down to a tee. He has an arrogance, despite his shyness, and it takes everything Mu has to soften his exterior.
Last Sunrise is a wonderful piece of cinema with a fantastic performance from Yue Zhang. The story, whilst great and perfect for pulling our two distant planets together, doesn’t quite manage to hit the eco, over-reliance message it strives for. But this is a minor niggle for what is a wonderfully romantic, sci-fi movie.