Directed by Danny Boyle (1994) Starring: Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, Kerry Fox
When three flatmates interview for a fourth, he ends up dead the next morning with a suitcase full of cash. While David (Eccleston) wants to call the police, Alex (McGregor) and Juliet (Fox) would prefer to spend the money. All three decide to hide the body, but unfortunately two thugs are out looking for their stiff.
Shallow Grave plays out like a Hitchcock film. The three flatmates are young professionals and close friends, who seemed to have only started interviewing for a fourth in order to play pranks on the interviewees. Alex comes up abrupt, rude, and a serial slacker, constantly criticizing David for this high-strung tendencies. Juliet mostly looks on coolly from above, often acting as a mediator between the two.
The reactions to finding the dead body is immediately shock, followed by greed once the suitcase is discovered. From his position as a journalist, Alex knows how to hide the identity of a body through cutting off the hands and feet and destroying the teeth. By drawing straws, David is assigned the gruesome task, but that seems to send him over the edge of sanity.
Boyle has created another psychodrama that pits young, intelligent people against a tough moral situation. Moral roles for the characters become reversed and their actions become more desperate. A few paranoid scenes with inspectors coming around create a very “Tell-Tale Heart” feel, while the structure of the apartment and the consistent discussion gives off more of a Rope-like atmosphere.
On the more shallow note, it’s fun to see these early-nineties fashions. I mean, Mullet McGregor? Love it! In a weird, weird way.