The Pestle


Ep 13: “Sunshine”

September 20, 2017

In this episode we discuss Danny Boyle’s scifi film “Sunshine” and discuss:

  • the colors of Sunshine;
  • Danny Boyle’s style vs David Fincher;
  • the film’s theme;
  • foreshadowing;
  • and much more.

Truthfully, I can only say I was driven to make the film, that these images came to me and I did not question them. My only defence is: ‘Forgive me, for I know not what I do.’ I am the wrong person to ask what the film means or why it is as it is. It is a bit like asking the chicken about the chicken soup.– Lars von Trier discussing “Antichrist”

Notes & References:
Danny Boyle had the cast live together in “student digs” prior to filming
Production design
Visual FX of Sunshine
Lenses ruined by the solar eclipse
Nikola Tesla’s “Death ray”
Danny Boyle almost directed Alien 4
Ernest Hemingway on the theme of “The Old Man and the Sea”

This Week’s Recommendations:

Wes UNrecommends David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”, all you have to do is not read it!


  1. Joe Howes says:

    Regarding the score behind the Sunshine clip that is played at the beginning of this episode. The first time I heard that bit of score was in 2010’s Kick Ass. It’s at its most similar to Sunshine in the buildup to Hit Girl’s final fight scene.

    Since that I have heard that same bit of score used in at least two other films and at least one trailer … NONE of which I can remember.

    Like all good filmmakers I’m sure we’ve all scene the “Every Frame A Painting” about “The Marvel Symphonic Universe” … I wonder if that bit of score originated with Sunshine? I LOVE that bit and I actually love that it keeps getting used 🙂

    1. wes says:

      Yeah, that bit from Kick Ass was originally supposed to be just for the temp track but as is often the case (as thoughtfully demonstrated in the EFAP essay you mentioned) filmmakers too often fall in love with the temp track, and so Matthew Vaughn decided to keep it in the final cut.

      Part of me does agree that a great cut deserves some rotation, but I also feel like there are even more original cuts that go unmade from this watered down recycling process. I’m all for the Tarantino idea of using great soundtracks because there’s so much amazing music out there (soundtrack being regular songs being used in films), but I cannot imagine rooting for a Hans Zimmer score being reused in another film. I wished they’d just hire those composers/writers to create new amazing material!

  2. Marc Israel says:

    Really good episode in summarizing what I was trying to wrap my brain around after initial viewing last night. Amazon purchase based on your recommendation and your comments about what you like in SciFi. I like mine with the undercurrent ir overview/statement about mankind.

    Wes’ thematic statements were very helpful as I felt the Sci-Fi onslaught and the murky context of the religious babble from the Captain of The Icharus I. I also don’t mind the need to rewatch to “get it” because Im just not that smart so will do so in the Summer to experience Sunshine anew.

    Good learning episode about how to highlight what’s important while I could not stop thinking of the sound being so Nolanesque (and before Hans met Christopher on screen!)

    Anyway good call and Spirited Away is next

    Thanks, as always!

    1. wes says:

      Yes! The first few times I watched this I had no real thought on the subtext, I was just enjoying the genre blending and story, but once the theme struck me I really enjoyed this on a whole new level and even bought the screenplay in book form. The script was actually a difficult read for me and it made me respect Boyle so much more for his ability to see the film on the pages.

      Oh man! One of my local theaters is playing Spirited Away this weekend and I hope to catch it on the big screen if I can find a spare afternoon, super excited about that.

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