Probably the best value Blu-ray released for a long while, The Brit Indie Collection contains four of the best British films of the 1990’s/early 2000’s. Two are Danny Boyle’s initial films, Trainspotting (1996) and Shallow Grave (1994), and both are brilliant pieces of work.
Although most remember Trainspotting as the first “The British are coming!” movies of the end of the century, it was Shallow Grave which brought together the trinity of director Boyle, producer Andrew Macdonald and writer John Hodge.
Shallow Grave is a full-blooded psychological black comedy following three flatmates tackling the ‘would you/wouldn’t you?’ situation of what to do with a suitcase of money and its recently deceased owner. Ewan McGregor and Kerry Fox are spunky and youthful, whilst Christopher Ecclestone makes an intense move from stuffy nerd to roof-dwelling maniac, drilling holes in the ceiling to view his flatmates/mortal enemies. Extra features include the enlightening ‘Digging Your Own Grave’ documentary about the stressful production of making such a film on a shoestring budget.
There’s little more to add about Trainspotting than has already been said in the last 15 years. Yes, Ewan McGregor has probably never been better. Yes, the soundtrack is brilliantly chosen (as was Shallow Grave’s). And yes, if all films were made with a tenth of the energy and charisma with which Boyle inject through his direction, then the world would be a better place. I can’t think of anything else to add at this stage, other than to urge anyone who hasn’t seen the film to buy it as soon as they possibly can. An intelligent and superbly – if, in retrospect, unfortunately – marketed picture about youth, greed, addiction, companionship and maturity, it never becomes didactic about drug use and is a far more manageable piece of work than Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (2000).