Sunshine Superman Screen 6 articles

Sunshine Superman

2014

Sunshine Superman Poster
  • The film struggles to ‘humanise’ the man (for example, only briefly mentioning, for plot advancement, the fascinating fact that Boenish was apparently a Christian Scientist), only to set the viewer up for his certain demise – a Hollywood-style storytelling tactic that overly simplifies an otherwise invigorating narrative.

  • Strauch’s direction is numbingly uninspired, adhering stringently to the Doc. 101 assembly-line template cultivated by the film’s executive producer Alex Gibney. This means a lot of on-the-nose and/or sentimentalizing musical cues (selections from Wagner’s Tristan And Isolde; the Donovan ditty that gives the movie its name), as well as cheesy reenactments of key events meant to break up any talking-head monotony, but instead distract with their gauzy amateurism.

  • The dramatic reenactments of events [eventually grew] pretty thick, which tried my patience; I also have to admit I found Jean Boenish’s philosophical musings less than persuasive. And I don’t think my fear of heights was the reason for my bias.

  • The emphasis on record-setting daredevil stunts—with Boenish and his entourage invading an under-construction Houston skyscraper—gives the film a surface similarity to Man On Wire. Still, the upshot is much grimmer; even for those who don’t know Boenish’s story, his absence among the talking heads tips his fate.

  • These images, so continually heartrending so as to never become redundant, astonishingly approximate what it's like to literally fly through the air with nothing tethering you to Earth, and effectively function as visual proselytizing. They document the endeavor's awesome endorphin high, yes, but also serve as a dynamic means to showcase a fringe sport for a wider audience, illustrating its relative sanity to those who might otherwise dismiss it as reckless.

  • Perhaps the sheer preponderance of Boenish’s self-shot footage is key to the effectiveness of Sunshine Superman. It’s one thing to hear Boenish spouting inspirational platitudes about thinking outside societal boxes and following your bliss; it’s quite another, however, to see the man himself putting his philosophies into mad practice, and moreover, to see his own filmed results as thrilling illustration.