If you were cool enough to catch Danny Boyle’s Sunshine during its 2007 theatrical run, you were treated to a visually immersive film that brought you on board with a space crew chosen to save human existence by replenishing a dying sun. Supporting the eye opening cinematography was the beautiful soundtrack score by John Murphy that has been used in various films and shows like the Walking Dead.
The protagonists of Boyle’s films have included nihilist junkies (“Trainspotting”), enraged zombies (“28 Days Later”), neo-hippie backpackers (“The Beach”) and poverty defying children (“Slumdog Millionaire”). His genres have ranged from black comedy to apocalyptic horror to the metaphysical science fiction themes explored in Sunshine.
Sunshine Trailer – Directed by Danny Boyle
The principle of sensory stimulation is front and center in “Sunshine,” which depicts a manned mission to the Sun. A crew of scientists has been given the task of restarting the dying star by torpedoing it with a nuclear payload. The tone of the film is a throwback to 2001: A Space Odyssey and the premise seems to be lifted from the 1968 Pink Floyd title Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. On a related note, Pink Floyd was originally asked to score the soundtrack for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Sunshine – The Surface of the Sun, Music Tribute
One constant in my film career is focus on sheer physical pleasure. I don’t want people to sit there and objectively watch the film. I want them to experience it as something that’s under their skin, so you try to make the films really tactile. – Danny Boyle
Sunshine - Captain Kaneda Meets the Sun
Danny Boyle his screenwriter, the novelist Alex Garland, who also wrote the script for “28 Days Later,” embraced the idea that “Sunshine,” precisely because of the vastness of its subject, would be a space odyssey in the most interior sense: a head trip. “It’s like films about mountains,” he said. “They’re not about mountaineering. They’re about the mind. Movies about space raise those questions of what we’re doing here, and that inevitably introduces a spiritual dimension.”
Boyle tried to inspire a suitable degree of awe for the scenes that simulated contact with the Sun (crew members peer out at the looming orb through Ray-Bans and filtered windows). “I’d say things like, ‘Every bit of you is just a bit of exploded star,’ a nod to Carl Sagan’s philosophies.
Sunshine – Helios, Music Tribute
Sunshine – Danny Boyle Interview
Sunshine – Quentin Tarantino Review
> The Space Odyssey of Danny Boyle | New York Times