Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Movie Recommendation: Shallow Grave

New Hollywood releases are mostly schlock, so I have been watching documentaries and older films recently. If you have ninety minutes to kill, check out Shallow Grave. It is an early '90s film, so the clothes are kind of funny to laugh at, the hair is long, and it feels like Reality Bites with a dark twist. I don't want to spoil the plot, but here's some things that jump out at me roughly 20 years after its release. It's a fun film.

- A young Christopher Eccleston plays your humble beta-omega accountant while a young Ewan McGregor plays a charismatic, soft alpha qualities reporter. The third roommate is a young, female doctor. It's a Gen X flick through and through with the music, social life and the trio looking for a cool 4th roommate.

- Refreshing to see a movie where the leads are not models. I have a cousin who is a dead ringer for Eccleston, McGregor is attractive and Kerry Fox is attractive but no beauty. It's a bit nice to watch compared to the Hollywood veneers and surgery for any faults crap. The lack of perfectly white and sized teeth is like a timestamp for movies.

- The Brits slip naked guys into their films as often as the French slip in topless women.

- Everyone is white. If this movie were made now, they'd have to have one minority roommate. Since it is a British film, it'd be a gorgeous Indian female doctor. The mysterious and cool 4th roommate would have been an African immigrant, hiding from a multiracial gang.

- Movie portrays the female more realistic than a film today would allow. She manipulates the nice guy who carries a cross for her, and is the driving force between the trio's split. She is pretty dastardly all on her own. No one forces her to be evil. It's all about agency. She chooses her path, and makes decisions that are best for her. Linda Fiorentino was in the best example of this in The Last Seduction. It's grrl power of an evil shade. Hollywood has pushed the female revenge flick recently where women react violently to a horrific event. Twenty years ago, it was okay to have women be evil bitches for monetary gain.

- The free spirit journalist is the one in the trio that is good, while the straight laced accountant turns dark. Hmm, that sounds cathedral approved.

- Add this flick to the Trainspotting, Nightwatch and Velvet Goldmine reel for early McGregor where he showed off onscreen charm, and it was evident he'd mke the move to bigger roles and films.

- People wore a lot of layers in the early '90s.

- Eccleston has an intense stare and uses his face and eyes well to convey emotion. Part of it seems to be his face shape, eyebrow ridge and eye size and shape.

- The real cause of the generation gap for Boomers and their parents was consequence free sex with the pill. The generation gap between X/Millenial and their parents will be a financial stability one but socially it is the widespread presence of opposite gender friendships.

- It's a great "what would you do flick" for a generation. In this case, it is the Gen X crowd as they were leaving home and college. The money is a symbol for the bigger questions. What is right, wrong, who are you really, what is the nature of friendship, are your friends worth it and where are you going to out of the chaos that is early 20s living. These films get cranked out often with the settings and MacGuffin changed to fit the era and new generation. These thrillers are great because they play on young adult anxiety. Many 20-somethings have the thought, "If I just came into a big enough chunk of money I'd....". Life isn't that simple.

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