This is Danny Boyle’s first time directing a movie (yeah, the guy that just won an Oscar for directing Slumdog Millionaire). He did a phenomenal job. It is beautifully shot, with interesting camera angles and great locations. The music fits the mood perfectly.
I guess this would be considered a thriller with a lot of dark comedy thrown in. Three flatmates (Alex, David and Juliet) are looking for a fourth person to room with them. After a truly bizarre method of interviewing people they finally settle upon Hugo. However, not long after he moves in they discover that he has died in his room.
This leads to Alex searching through Hugo’s stuff. Low and behold he finds some drugs and a suitcase full of cash. Now they are faced with a moral dilemma. Do they call the police and report it or do they keep the cash and find a way to get rid of the body. You can guess which option they chose. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a movie if they went the other way, would it?
Unfortunately, there are two very violent men trying to find Hugo and they can be very persuasive. Also, doesn’t look like the body was buried well enough and now the police are investigating. If that isn’t enough to deal with there are also struggles amongst the three flatmates over whether they did the right thing and what to do with the money.
Alex is a newspaper reporter and is played by Ewan McGregor. This movie is from 1994 and is therefore very early in his career. You wouldn’t know it. He is just such a natural and is totally comfortable in front of the camera. His character has many of the best lines in the movie. He is very sarcastic and to put it nicely a bit of a jerk. Ewan is wonderful in the role and due to his charisma is able to make you care about Alex (even though at times you won’t like him).
David is an accountant and is played by Christopher Eccleston. He is the stick in the mud of the group. He is very focused and controlled. David doesn’t always appreciate Alex’s more free-spirited nature and they tend to snap at each other a lot. Christopher is well suited to the character of David. He is a very intense actor and can be very intimidating when it is called for. You might recognize Christopher as “The Doctor” in the first series of “Doctor Who”.
Juliet is a doctor and is played by Kerry Fox. She is strong willed and can be a bit on the manipulative side. There is definitely a spark between her and Alex but she seems willing to switch to whoever will most benefit her. There is great interaction between Juliet and Alex when they have returned from shopping and are playing with all the new things they bought. You can see how comfortable they are with each other and that they enjoy each other’s company immensely. Plus Ewan in a little black dress … what fun!
This is a terrific movie with great suspense and interesting twists and turns. It’s an interesting look into human nature.
Some of my favorite quotes:
David – “If you can’t trust your friends, well what then? What then?”
Alex – “What on earth could make you think we’d want to share a flat like this with someone like you?”
Alex – “Now when you sacrifice a goat and rip it’s heart out with your bare hands, do you then summon hellfire?”
Alex – “When you get up in the morning how do you decide what shade of black to wear?”
Alex – “When did anyone say these exact words to you “you are the sunshine of my life”?”
David – “And how would you react then if I told you I was the anti-christ?”
Alex – “I tell ya every letter this guy writes you is the same. They all begin like true love and then descend into open pornography.”
David – “Normally I don’t usually meet people unless I already know them.”
David – “I’ve never seen a dead body before. I saw my grandmother of course but I don’t suppose that counts. I mean she was alive at the time.”
Alex – “Tell them there’s a suitcase full of money and you don’t want it.”
Alex – “You see what I need here is PC Plod saves Harry the Hamster from house of horror, ya know.”
Alex – “But Juliet, you’re a doctor, you kill people every day.”
Alex – “You really explored your maleness to the full there.”
Alex – “Security and insanity are not the same thing.”
Alex – “I’m not frightened. I’m a little terrified maybe.”
Alex – “Now that’s important to me, I need to die misunderstood.”
Note: Both Ewan and Christopher went on to do other movies with Danny Boyle. Ewan did “Trainspotting” and “A Life Less Ordinary”. Christopher did “28 Days Later”.
Following is additional information about the movie that contains spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled don’t read any further.
The scene when they are interviewing prospective flatmates is complete insanity. You really get the feel for what type of people they are. They even made one poor guy cry!
It was amazing how David went from the more mild mannered of the three to a creepy, scary psycho. When he threatens Alex with the drill, it’s very scary. The scene when they are taking the other two bodies to be buried shows how frightened Alex and Juliet have become of him. He is driving and they are huddled together as far to the other side of the truck as they can, trying to keep their distance from him.
At the end Juliet is the one I was the most upset with. Even after all she had done, Alex still tried to protect her from David, but she turned on him. I was stunned when she pounded the knife further through Alex and into the floor so he would be trapped and she could take off with all of the money. At least with David, you can chalk it up to insanity, but with Juliet it was pure greed.