Three housemates find their roommate dead from a drug overdose and steal the suspiciously large amount of money that he left behind. Fuelled by self-absorption and cynicism, the trio make bad decisions that lead to grim consequences.
The release of Shallow Grave in 1994 was a much-needed jolt for British independent cinema. At the time, England was going through the “Cool Britannia Movement” - a movement celebrating an increased pride for British culture that was more youthful and fashionable. Films were veering away from the lavish period costume dramas that were often adapted from well-known literary sources.
Shallow Grave also marked the directorial debut of Danny Boyle, a one-of- a-kind filmmaker with fresh new ideas who continues to push the boundaries of visual storytelling with his unique marriage of sight and sound. Shallow Grave established Boyle’s dynamic storytelling and kinetic visuals that remain a hallmark of most of his films to date.
With its black humour and nastily cynical characters shot in gritty locations, the film was made on a tight budget because Boyle felt that it gave him a greater sense of control. Out of money by the last day of the shoot, Boyle resorted to unconventional methods to work around budgetary constraints - selling bits of the set and furniture to members of the crew. Boyle also insisted on shooting at a mortuary where there were real dead bodies inside, to the reluctance of actor Christopher Eccleston.
Shallow Grave features actor Ewan McGregor, famous for his roles in the new Star Wars (1999, 2002, 2005) trilogy and Moulin Rouge (2001). Following the success of Shallow Grave, Boyle chose to cast McGregor as the heroin-addict protagonist in Trainspotting (1996). Alongside McGregor is Christopher Eccleston, best known for being the ninth Doctor in the television series, Doctor Who.
Awards: BAFTA Awards 1995 (Best British Film).
Danny Boyle is known for his cult hit Trainspotting, acclaimed films such as Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and 127 Hours (2010), and was responsible for directing the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Boyle recently directed Trance (2013), a British psychological trailer. He is known for his versatility, working in a wide range of genres and often circumventing their conventions, yet his dynamic visual storytelling remain consistent in all of his films.