Ewan McGregor stars as a cleaning man in Los Angeles, who takes his boss' daughter hostage after being fired and replaced by a robot. Two "angels", who are in charge of human relationships ... See full summary »
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 has stated that of the films he has directed, this is his father's favorite, and that whenever a new film directed by Boyle junior is released (including Slumdog Millionaire (2008), which won the academy award both for best film and best director) and he asks Boyle senior's opinion, his father's review is always the same - "It was good, but not as good as 'Shallow Grave'." See more »
When Alex calls the inspector, just after he finishes dialing he runs his hands though his hair and the cut on his forehead is missing. The scene cuts away and when it returns the cut has reappeared on his face. See more »
[reading Juliet's mail]
He even signs them, in his own name can you believe it? I'd sign someone else's name... I'd sign his name!... If I wrote them that is, which I don't.
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The closing credits appear over images of the three main characters in happier times, ironically all laughing hysterically. See more »
This film opens with three hip, cynical young Scottish professionals, David, Juliet and Alex (Christopher Eccleston, Kerry Fox and Ewan McGregor)who are looking for a fourth to share their spacious flat. That they aren't very nice people is clear in the opening scenes. when they taunt and mock the hapless applicants with insults and absurd questions, it is a foreshadowing of future nastiness and some of the choices they make. Finally an older man who seems to be their match takes the room, then immediately up and dies on them--and leaves a suitcase full of money. Did the guy commit suicide? And if so, why? More than likely the money came from some ill-gotten source, so why not keep it? But first, his corpse, which is, as Alex puts it, starting to "go off and smell" must be dealt with, hence the title. Scotland is such a great setting for a horror thriller, it's a shame more of them aren't set there. These are the people who gave us Burke and Hare after all. Add to that all the stereotypes about Scottish people and money and it's a perfect set-up for this plot. The sexual tension among the three also adds a suspenseful twist. Ewan McGregor was even more heartbreakingly handsome in those days, long before he was a Jedi knight, but in spite of that, he does an amazing job playing a lout.
It may be my imagination, but Danny Boyle seems given to "Clockwork Orange" references here as he was in "Trainspotting" (Watch for the scene at the charity ball with Ewan McGregor on the floor with Fox's foot on his face. There are others.) Nothing wrong with that. And as with "Trainspotting", there are some flights of pure fantasy, though none as protracted as the toilet scene.
Though not heavy handedly, I think that this film, perhaps even more so than "Trainspotting" makes a pointed comment on the spiritual condition(empty) of young people in the nineties. These are very much films of their time--they could not have been made in an earlier time, and not just because of explicit drug and violence scenes.
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