Shallow Grave

"Movie Magazine International" Review

(Air Date: Week Of 2/22/95)

By Monica Sullivan

"Shallow Grave" is a nasty little tale about three flatmates looking for a fellow occupant to share their living space. As they grill prospective tenants, we learn that Juliet, David and Alex have the sort of darkly humorous relationship that excludes nearly everyone else. Until Hugo arrives on the scene.

He creates an interesting and rather charming first impression. And then they discover his body in his new room plus a million dollars in his suitcase. At this point, some logical viewers might have a best possible scenario worked out for the three buddies. But anyone who's seen "The Treasure Of Sierra Madre", "Ocean's Eleven ", Perfect Friday" or countless other sure-fire heist movies knows that best possible scenarios never work out once greed kicks into gear.

So we get to watch as Juliet turns crafty, David turns weird and Alex turns, well, just a bit gallant. And screenwriter John Hodge plays fair about the outcome. Danny Boyle, too, directs the comedic moments with broad strokes and underplays the escalating violence with fast cuts of real gore and artfully composed long shots that look far more grisly than they really are.

"Shallow Grave" may not be the sort of movie police procedural we'll care to examine too carefully, but as a psychological chiller, it supplies splendid value. Best of all, the expert ensemble work in "Shallow Grave" is a treat to watch: Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor are ideally cast as the best friends who know way too much and far too little about each other.

Copyright 1995 Monica Sullivan

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