Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave Image
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 107 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Three roommates believe they've found the perfect fourth person to share their home. But almost immediately after moving in they find him dead in his bedroom from a massive drug overdose. Even stranger, they find a suitcase full of money under his bed. They are faced with the moral dilemmaThree roommates believe they've found the perfect fourth person to share their home. But almost immediately after moving in they find him dead in his bedroom from a massive drug overdose. Even stranger, they find a suitcase full of money under his bed. They are faced with the moral dilemma of whether to call the police and turn in the cash or dispose of the body and keep the money for themselves. They decide to keep the money, but then find themselves consumed with violent paranoia toward each other. (MGM) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 100
    This, the debut feature from acclaimed TV director Danny Boyle, is the best British thriller for years, a chilling and claustrophobic heart-stopper centring on a moral dilemma destined to fuel many a dinner party conversation.
  2. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    90
    Shallow Grave, a tar-black comedy that zings along on a wave of visual and scripting inventiveness.
  3. This is a fairly accomplished first feature -perky, visually inventive, and unusually nast
  4. Danny Boyle's glittering, deadpan, nihilistic little thriller.
  5. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    63
    There's something in Shallow Grave that is admirable, beyond its obvious display of youthful talent. [24 Feb 1995]
  6. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    58
    McGregor is a real charmer, a young Malcolm McDowell with a Scottish lilt; Brain Tufano's photography manages to be both rich and stark at once; Hodge's script has some genuinely arch lines. [03 Mar 1995]
  7. Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge (who is a physician!) keep the action spurting forward, but their approach is oblique. We seem to be catching the odds and ends of scenes; it's as if the filmmakers wanted to make a movie in which all the expected high points were skimped.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Apr 30, 2011
    10
    A slick, clever, well shot thriller. Almost everything about this film works, and works well. Danny Boyle, trés bien! The greatA slick, clever, well shot thriller. Almost everything about this film works, and works well. Danny Boyle, trés bien! The great sweeping shot that reveals just who was the quickest, is pure genius. Just great Expand
  2. Jul 14, 2014
    10
    Shallow Grave is a very well shot and acted movie from British director Danny Boyle. The cast is great
    with Ewen Mcgregor from Trainspotting.
    Shallow Grave is a very well shot and acted movie from British director Danny Boyle. The cast is great
    with Ewen Mcgregor from Trainspotting. The plot is very clever and the movie has a nice Hitchcockian
    feel to it. The story is unpredictable and it will become one of your favourite movies.
    Expand
  3. Apr 2, 2016
    9
    Blighty’s new wave of knock-’em-dead filmers has a banner to march under with “Shallow Grave,” a tar-black comedy that zings along on a waveBlighty’s new wave of knock-’em-dead filmers has a banner to march under with “Shallow Grave,” a tar-black comedy that zings along on a wave of visual and scripting inventiveness. Film Four Intl. looks set to rack up healthy sales on this first feature of English TV director Danny Boyle, which will delight buff audiences and has the potential to break out into wider markets, too.

    Reaction at its world preem screening in the Cannes market was hot, with many questioning why pic wasn’t in any of the fest’s sections, despite having been submitted for both competition and Directors Fortnight.

    Main surprise is that “Grave” manages to sustain its oddball humor and theatrical style without depending on non-stop eye-whacking tricks. First script by Glasgow-based doctor John Hodge (who cameos as a cop) keeps springing surprises until the final shot, and Boyle’s direction, though often hyper, manages to serve up an intelligent movie without sacrificing narrative drive or reducing the actors to characterless pawns.

    Story, set in modern-day Scotland, revolves around a trio of unlikely friends sharing a spacious top-floor apartment. Juliet (Kerry Fox) is a seemingly levelheaded nurse, David (Christopher Eccleston) is a studiously boring accountant in a stuffy firmand Alex (Ewan McGregor) is a wild-side journalist on a local rag.

    From their first appearance, grilling applicants for a fourth lodger, it’s clear they’ve all got several screws loose. The lodger problem is solved when Juliet takes a shine to the rough-looking, mysterious Hugo (Keith Allen, the psycho in “Beyond Bedlam”), who soon takes up residence. A short time later, Hugo is found dead in bed, his drawer stuffed with drugs and a suitcase stuffed with money.

    After shilly-shallying over what to do, the trio decide to chop up the cadaver, bury the bits and keep the loot — a sequence that sets the tone for the pic’s several grisly comic set pieces.

    Finale in the apartment is a real tour de force of black humor, with multiple double-crosses and twists up to the final fadeout.

    Boyle’s background in theater before moving over to TV (“Inspector Morse”) shows in the pic’s exaggerated but actorly approach. In look and feel, however, this is pure moviemaking, with a seamless blend of production design, music, editing, sound and lensing.

    Buffs will note stylistic parallels to the Coen brothers’ early pix, especially “Raising Arizona,” but there’s a trove of others for those wanting to make connections. (Cinephiles can also dine on the fact that producer Andrew Macdonald is related to Emeric Pressburger.)

    Playing and casting are strong down the line. Of the central trio, Kiwi actress Fox rates special praise for her disarming portrayal of everyday madness.

    Among the tiptop behind-the-camera credits, production designer Kave Quinn’s superb set of the off-center apartment is a constant delight, with its color-coded rooms and its play with light. Reported budget was a mere T1 million ($ 1.5 million), with every cent up on the screen.
    Expand
  4. Mar 27, 2014
    7
    First serious movie by Danny Boyle. The actors are good, though the story is mostly predictable. The overall feel is like in other UKFirst serious movie by Danny Boyle. The actors are good, though the story is mostly predictable. The overall feel is like in other UK criminal-related movies. It was interesting to see the famous director's first full-length movie, but it was not as good as I expected. Expand
  5. BKM
    May 16, 2013
    6
    It's nothing that hasn't been seen before. Friends are torn apart by greed after their flatmate dies and leaves a mysterious suitcase ofIt's nothing that hasn't been seen before. Friends are torn apart by greed after their flatmate dies and leaves a mysterious suitcase of money behind. What makes this film worth checking out is Danny Boyle's darkly comic approach to the material and Ewan McGregor's devilishly fun performance. Expand
  6. Apr 29, 2013
    5
    This movie goes on and on and on, and even if it is funny or very entertained sometimes, it just wasn't that good. Also is one of DannyThis movie goes on and on and on, and even if it is funny or very entertained sometimes, it just wasn't that good. Also is one of Danny Boyle's worst and i wanted more of this, a lot more of this Expand

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