We'll get to the controversial ending in a second -- there's so much to laud in the first 90% of Danny Boyle's hypnotic and devastating sci-fi masterpiece. It has a brilliant way of dramatizing the terrifying practicalities of space travel, showing us how even the most advanced technology rests in a delicate system. It captures so many of the conflicting emotions that a crew would have on a mission like this -- loneliness, claustrophobia, anger, fear -- and brings them to life with validation and insight. And it even got people to notice the real depth that Chris Evans could offer.
Yes, there is that ending, where the tense and deliberate character study suddenly shifts into pulpy horror delirium as a sunburnt madman tries to unhinge the crew's final mission, but I'd argue it only really fails due to a bizarre aesthetic shift. Sometimes big tonal jumps are too much for audiences, but underneath the artifice of Boyle's decision, the ending's themes regarding cynicism and death wishes ring so true. Some may still never forgive the finale, letting it taint the whole movie, but I'll never understand callously throwing the baby out with bathwater just because it makes you feel weird: It not only undermines everything amazing about filmmaking, but the ultimate point of the film.