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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Share your house? Watch this film!
Shallow Grave is basically about what happens to a group of flatmates/friends when faced with the dilemma of having a suitcase full of money and a dead person in your flat! A humorous film that descends into claustrophobia racked with feelings of guilt as the three flatmates lose friendship,trust and ultimately sanity. There are some darkly funny moments in the film,...
Published on 20 April 2002

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent set
Shallow Grave is a wholly decent film- great premise, a good cast and some fresh ideas- but its clear that Boyle, Macdonald and Hodge had yet to find that perfect mix of ideas, casting and style that made Trainspotting a much better film than this one. Yet, for all Shallow Grave's shortcomings in terms of pacing and even character development, it has some great humour and...
Published on 18 Jun 2009 by Paul McNamee


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boyle's Inventive Feature Debut, 27 April 2012
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shallow Grave [DVD] (1994) (DVD)
Danny Boyle's 1994 debut feature Shallow Grave is a brilliant exponent of macabre black comedy, made with the inventive directorial flare that has become a trademark of this most eclectic of film-makers. Whilst the 'in your face' impact of Shallow Grave has rather mellowed over the intervening years, and the film has been surpassed in Boyle's body of work by his masterpiece Trainspotting, the earlier film is still an extremely assured debut and makes for very enjoyable viewing.

The film opens with a great (and now recognised as typical Boyle) accelerated tracking shot through the streets of Edinburgh - not quite as stunning as the Trainspotting opening, but innovative nevertheless. This sets the tone for a film that is great to look at (cinematographer Brian Tufano also worked on Trainspotting and Quadrophenia) and listen to (featuring a superb soundtrack written by Simon Boswell plus a one or two other artists' featured songs). The plot of Shallow Grave tells the claustrophobic tale of three flat mates (Alex - Ewan McGregor, David - Christopher Eccleston, Juliet - Kerry Fox) whose lives are changed forever when they let out a room in the house they share to flathunter Hugo (Keith Allen) who, unbeknown to them, is harbouring a suitcaseful of stolen cash. As the cash falls into the hands of the trio, their friendships and loyalties are tested to breaking point, causing mental instability and eventual betrayal.

Boyle has created a brilliantly atmospheric look and feel for the film, and the quirky black humour frequently reminds me of the films of the Coen Brothers (at their best), in particular the film Barton Fink. There are numerous hilarious lines of dialogue (such as when, faced with their grisly task, Alex points out to Julia ,'You're a doctor, you kill people everyday') and nice cinematic touches (such as the scene where Alex is watching the climactic scene from The Wicker Man on TV). Acting-wise, all the three main protagonists are good, with a particularly notable performance from Eccleston (an actor whose cinematic career has never really regained this level of performance, other than perhaps in Michael Winterbottom's Jude). There are also minor roles and cameos for some other outstanding Scottish acting talent, namely Ken Stott (as the police inspector), Peter Mullan (as a henchman) and Gary Lewis (in a brilliant turn as one of the potential flatmates interviewed towards the beginning of the film).

My only criticism of the film is that I find that the third quarter does tend to drag slightly, and maybe the film is 10 minutes or so too long. However, everything comes together again for an outstanding closing sequence - one of the darkest, comic endings I've seen, as the film's grisly denouement is (hilariously) accompanied by Andy Williams singing Happy Heart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-see film!, 3 Feb 2013
By 
ReviewBlog51 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shallow Grave [DVD] (1994) (DVD)
'Shallow Grave' has always been a favourite film of mine, directed by Danny Boyle, the man behind the excellent 'Trainspotting'. However, I believe that this, his debut feature film from 1994 to be even better than the aforementioned movie, released two years after 'Shallow Grave'. Like 'Trainspotting', it is brilliantly written and directed. The acting is also excellent, in particular, Ewan McGregor, who of course went onto star in the next two Danny Boyle movies.

The story is about three Scottish room mates (played by Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor) that have deal with the death of a fourth new arrival in their flat, as well as his suitcase full of stolen cash. None of the three characters are particularly likable and with their shallow values, it comes as no real surprise when they start to turn on each other. The film grows suspense and violence, it is very intense and always interesting as we learn more about the characters and who they are.

'Shallow Grave' is a movie that I have seen many times and can always enjoy it. A dark tale with lots of black comedy.

Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Modern Thriller!, 18 Dec 2011
By 
ReviewBlog51 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
'Shallow Grave' has always been a favourite film of mine, directed by Danny Boyle, the man behind the excellent 'Trainspotting'. However, I believe that this, his debut feature film from 1994 to be even better than the aforementioned movie, released two years after 'Shallow Grave'. Like 'Trainspotting', it is brilliantly written and directed. The acting is also excellent, in particular, Ewan McGregor, who of course went onto star in the next two Danny Boyle movies.

The story is about three Scottish room mates (played by Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor) that have deal with the death of a fourth new arrival in their flat, as well as his suitcase full of stolen cash. None of the three characters are particularly likable and with their shallow values, it comes as no real surprise when they start to turn on each other. The film grows suspense and violence, it is very intense and always interesting as we learn more about the characters and who they are.

'Shallow Grave' is a movie that I have seen many times and can always enjoy it. A dark tale with lots of black comedy.

Highly recommended!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clever, thrilling and fun, 5 Sep 2009
By 
A. Stevenson (Hong Kong) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's been 10 years since I saw this and I thought I'd be disappointed. Absolutely not.
It's creepy, clever and will keep you gripped 'til the unexpected end. All the 3 main actors, whilst not necessarily likeable, are fantastic in their roles.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An understated classic, 2 Feb 2007
By 
V. Lydon "Vix" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shallow Grave [DVD] (1994) (DVD)
I absolutely love this film and it is and will probably always be one of my favourites. But (yes, there's a but), there's one thing that's niggled me ever since the first time I saw this movie . . . why don't they just take the money, and report the body (for those that haven't seen the movie this doesn't spoil the plot I promise) . . . who wouldv'e know it was there?

But, I guess, therein lies the plot, and with this slight frustration aside, nobody should let this put them off.

There are very few British movies which I feel make it into the classic genre, but this IS definately one of them. It's contempary, fast paced, gritty, real and most importantly shows the worst of human nature and the unlikely events which can tear friendships apart.

Buy it.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent set, 18 Jun 2009
By 
Paul McNamee "Rambleast Reviews" (North Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shallow Grave [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Shallow Grave is a wholly decent film- great premise, a good cast and some fresh ideas- but its clear that Boyle, Macdonald and Hodge had yet to find that perfect mix of ideas, casting and style that made Trainspotting a much better film than this one. Yet, for all Shallow Grave's shortcomings in terms of pacing and even character development, it has some great humour and wit. Ewan McGregor, here receiving third billing, is clearly the standout of the cast, and has rightfully went on to find much success. His delivery and tone throughout the film demands adoration.

The Blu Ray transfer of this film seems to me (hardly an authority on such things) to be as perfect as a 14-year old British low-budget movie can be. Certain details (the kitchen table, Kieth Allen's corpse) are particularly vivid, and those that aren't still look sumptuous and clear. There don't seem to be any major flaws that I can discern, no grain or compression, which is more than can be said of much bigger films including Transformers and 300 in HD. The sound too seems to be fine, but I'm not running it through a hi-tech system- two speakers are enough for me at the present moment.

The extras are interesting but add little insight. "Digging Your Own Grave" is a 30-minute documentary on the making of the film from Kevin "State Of Play" Macdonald, which mostly focuses on his brother Andrew, the film's producer. It was filmed in 1994 or so on handheld and as such looks positively shocking, and offers just short of no contribution from the cast, and most of the crew. The only other extras (possibly exclusive to this Blu release) are interviews with Boyle and McGregor, at 2 and 8 minutes respectively. Again, neither are particularly in depth, both part of larger sessions (firther instalments of which can be found on the recent reissue of Trainspotting). The commentary from Boyle is light-hearted, chatty and informative, nostalgic even, and worth a listen.

I wouldn't recommend an upgrade if you have the older MGM DVD- I only bought this because I hadn't owned it and the Blu Ray was the same price as the DVD. The new extras aren't as worthy as those on the Trainspotting set, and while the film looks great in high def, its not the kind that merits it. A good buy if its your first time, but that's it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Trainspotting?, 17 Jun 2009
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I think this film is great - great storyline, great feel to the film and great actors. In my opinion, and I'm sure I'll be slated for this, it's better than Trainspotting (although I'm a fan of it too). The occasional plot holes are easily forgiven in the face of an otherwise excellent film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Long Night's Journey into Day, 16 Jun 2014
This review is from: Shallow Grave [DVD] (1994) (DVD)
'If you can't trust your friends, what then?' said Alex on the soundtrack. Alex and his two flatmates, Juliet and David, interview several people for the spare flat they have at the top of a long staircase. Their interviews humiliate most of their potential flatmates but, eventually, Hugo arrives with a suitcase and gets the room. The journey into the night of greed and corruption began when they find Hugo's naked body on his bed and the suitcase containing a huge amount of money under it.

The decision by the three of them to keep the money did not take long and soon the cracks in their relationship begin to show. The first decision is to get rid of the body and dismembering it; this was taken on by accountant David with the help of the other two as they bury the body in a forest and get rid of Hugo's car in a lake. Of course they knew the money was 'hot' and belonged to someone, namely Hugo's accomplices who are seen torturing information out of people to establish his whereabouts. The opposition is therefore depicted as violent, nothing these yuppies could tangle with and survive. David has already taken possession of the suitcase and its cash because the other two have been filching money from it and he is concerned that such distribution of huge wadges of cash would be noticed. David therefore takes the money to the loft and sleeps there to protect it .

After that, things went downhill very rapidly as David disposes of the opposition and buried them in the forest. He is obviously out of control so the dynamics of the group changed with |Juliet and David on one side and the hapless Alex on his own. This was the impetus leading to the great climax when they think their troubles are over, having seemingly satisfied the police who are also in pursuit of the loot.

John Hodge's very tight screenplay kept things moving well with some great performances from all who go from being cynical 'in control' middle-class yuppies to people frightened of each other with greed being the agency of the group's destruction. The film is played without too much gore which would have unbalanced the film and sent it over into Grand Guignol. It kept its discipline and therefore succeeded in providing a gripping,very dark slice of irony and black humour.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great low budget C4 film, 2 April 2014
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Great cast. Good story. Simple tale told well on a low budget. Hard to like any of the characters but how would you react in the same situation?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ewan McGregor., 10 Feb 2014
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I like every film of his I've seen and want as many of them on DVD as I can find.

Shallow Grave was a very good film. I'd seen it on French TV and was delighted to learn that it was on sale at Amazon.

N. Harrison, France.
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Shallow Grave [DVD] (1994)
Shallow Grave [DVD] (1994) by Danny Boyle (DVD - 2001)
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