Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Before Danny Boyle gained world wide fame with Trainspotting and Academy love with Slumdog Millionaire he broke out big with his first film called Shallow Grave. Newly released in stellar Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-Ray packages this nasty little British Crime/Thriller/Black Comedy is worth seeking out and you can definitely see all of Boyle’s hallmarks as a Director on display, albeit in their infancy.
Juliet, David, and Alex are three snotty roommates interviewing for a vacant room in their spacious flat. They bring people in and when they aren’t what they are looking for they ridicule them for the sake of it. Finally they find someone who they deem cool enough to live with them. Suddenly they come across their new roommate dead, from an apparent drug overdose, with a suitcase full of money in his room. So begins the twists. The three squabble over what to do with the body and the money. Meanwhile the police investigation begins and some unsavory characters enter the mix, presumably to whom the money actually belongs.
The main characters are assholes for sure and they remain that for pretty much the whole movie. This is a Coen type Thriller where a bunch of jerk off idiots go through a lot of pain and difficult for a bit of cash. The humor is pitch black and the violence is intense but the really entertaining thing about this is the quality directing and performances. Are the characters really relatable? Not especially. I wouldn’t want to hang out with any of these people in real life. But there is a dark lunacy to the situation that I enjoy. Being a Coen Brothers fan this type of movie is right up my alley.
While not as great as a Blood Simple it seemed clear to me that it is the kind of movie they were trying to nods from. Stylish and brutal, Shallow Grave is a great look at Boyle’s beginnings. The crew from this movie went on to great success with Trainspotting and after watching Shallow Grave one can see where all that talent was on display originally.