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The new flatmate of three preexisting roommates turns up mysteriously dead but in possession of a large sum of money. When the roommates decide to keep it for themselves, their action sets in motion a destructive chain of events that spiral out of control. Written by
Danny Boyle seemed like he was destined for directorial greatness before the surprise success of "Trainspotting" got to his head. His first two pictures, however, are wonderful. "Shallow Grave" is one of the best modern thrillers I have seen in a long time.
The story centers around three British roommates who are trying to rent the empty room in their flat out to another person. When they finally do find a man to rent the flat out to, he dies in his sleep, leaving behind a briefcase full of a whole lot of money. What to do?
Much like "Trainspotting" of a few years later, "Shallow Grave" has very dark comical undertones to it. Unlike "Trainspotting" however, it is a much more serious film. Like Sam Raimi's "A Simple Plan" of four years later, it explores a moral dilemma between three friends on what to in a situation when you find a lot of money that does not belong to you. Do you compromise your morals for the money or do you do the right thing? One is never quite sure how the story will turn out and as you approach the ending of the film, you are never quite sure which one of the three friends is more sinister than the next, which makes the twists in the last part of the film such a darkly hilarious and chilling delight.
Films like "Shallow Grave" are exactly what independent filmmaking is all about. It's a smart, sleek and stylish film made on a small budget, driven by a cleaver story and interesting characters. Ewan McGregor and Christopher Eccleston both give great performances in this film. `Shallow Grave' is miles better than any thriller Hollywood has come up with in the last 10-15 years (if not longer). I give it an 8 out of 10.
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