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Critical Kemp on Shallow Grave

SIDE “B” RECOS

These are specialty Critical Kemp below the radar recommendations, that may have slipped past the regular theater circuit, or were in limited release – but are must sees for the Rollin crew.


I had a roommate in New York once who used to come home from work every day, sit in his underwear, get stoned, open the close captioning on the tv so he could read the subtitles, and then play the same album from Metallica as loud as it could go.  So the audio was Metallica, and we had to read the tv.  Sounds fuckin fun, eh?  Daily this would happen, without fail.  Tiny apartment, and this guy never went anywhere.  I was broke but most of the evenings after work, I’d spend $50 bucks eating out so I didn’t have to go home and listen to the same fucking record.  I’m sure everyone has their similar roommates from hell stories.  “Shallow Grave”, if you reduce the storyline to its bare bones, is a roommate from hell tale put on steroids.  And more than the basic “Fatal Attraction” or “Possessed” or “The Temp” or “Single White Female” where the premise is based on one main character unexpectedly being psychotic, this story has you get to know 3 roommates when they are normal, and then watch as corruption slowly degrades them into paranoia & insanity, and ultimately violence toward each other.

I liked this movie also because it was a milestone, it kicked off some major talents in the industry, and you can see them at work in this movie a couple years before they became popular.  At this point many people know the director Danny Boyle from “Trainspotting”, “28 Days Later” and “Slumdog Millionaire”.  He also discovered Ewan McGregor, who worked with him first on this movie, then again on “Trainspotting” and “A Life Less Ordinary”, and then Ewan moved on to do epics like “Moulin Rouge” and “Star Wars”.  Shallow Grave is as close to a modern-day Hitchcock thriller as I’ve seen of late, with a few unexpected but realistic turns, and then a slow, tense, unnerving slide into people’s inner demons.  Not the usual action, blowin’ shit up recommendation from me, but definitely Rollin Approved.

- Critical Kemp

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