Shallow Grave (Blu-ray) (1994)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 12-Oct-2010

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Black Comedy Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Director Danny Boyle
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 92:36
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Danny Boyle
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Kerry Fox
Christopher Eccleston
Ewan McGregor
Ken Stott
Keith Allen
Colin McCredie
Victoria Nairn
Gary Lewis
Jean Marie Coffey
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $39.95 Music Simon Boswell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Danny Boyle's debut (along with that of his frequent collaborators producer Andrew Macdonald and writer John Hodge). Ewan McGregor’s first substantive screen role. Early lead roles for Christopher Eccleston and Kerry Fox. A brief role from British fringe stalwart Keith Allen to provide it legitimacy when it was first released. That pedigree is enough reason for most folks to be aware of Shallow Grave, even before discovering that this cult film is one of the finest black comedies to have ever graced screens.

     The film follows the perilous downward spiral of three housemates, Alex, David and Juliet (Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston and Kerry Fox respectively), after they discover their new housemate (Keith Allen) dead within days of moving in and decide to keep the suitcase of money they find next to his rotting, naked corpse. Drawing straws, they decide who is to dispose of the body and formulate a plan to hide the money until any fallout blows over. That fallout comes in the form of a couple of burly sorts out looking for the money, killing anyone in their way, and a couple of policemen smelling something fishy, all of whom need to be dealt with in one way or another. As the affair wears on, the three become significantly less trusting of one another and their paranoia drives them all down a hilariously sinister path.

     Shallow Grave has aged particularly well, save for perhaps Christopher Eccleston’s big round glasses which were probably out of date by the time the film finished its theatrical run! The performances are still spot on. The humour is wicked and works on a variety of levels. Danny Boyle does a masterful job of evolving the mood of the film as the tone of the story progresses from its fun, light start to its delightfully wicked end. Although the storytelling is undeniably rougher in this instance than his recent work, it is remarkable to look back now and see just how much of his distinct style Boyle had worked out from the get-go. Shallow Grave is essential viewing.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, slightly short of the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p.

     The video looks quite good, but shows the film's age. A modest level of film grain is noticeable throughout, along with occasional small film artefacts. None of this detracts from the picture, but give it somewhat of an aged look. There is an excellent level of shadow detail in the image. The muted colour palette is quite stylised, particularly around the various scenes involving death and dismemberment, which give the film quite a distinct look. The palette is well presented on the disc and quite consistent. There is no sign of compression artefacts in the video.

     There are no subtitles on this disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The disc includes a single English uncompressed 48 bit LPCM 2.0 track. Although the track undeniably shows up the limitations of relatively low budget indie fare 15 years ago, it still sounds pretty decent. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. There are no issues with audio sync. There is no surround usage, although the track features enough low end to reach the subwoofer on occasion.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary with Danny Boyle

     Somewhat technical in nature, but a quite engaging and occasionally amusing listen.

Danny Boyle on Shallow Grave featurette (2:01)

     A brief interview with Danny Boyle for a previous DVD release. All too brief.

Ewan McGregor on Shallow Grave featurette (7:29)

     A 2002 TV interview with Ewan McGregor. Brief but worth a look.

Theatrical Trailer (2:13)

     An amusing and particularly well cut trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The only other Blu-ray edition of the film presently available is the UK Region B edition. That edition includes an additional 30 minute "making of" featurette but is otherwise identical to this edition, making it a clear winner.

     Compared with the previous Region 4 DVD edition, this is somewhat of an improvement in the special features stakes as it actually includes some. Full details on the previous DVD edition can be found in our review of it here.

Summary

     A classic British black comedy that gave Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor a start on their road to Hollywood.

     Audio and video look quite good, but are undeniably dated. The extras are marginal, but worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, February 04, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Typical "nasty" down-under Blu-ray - penguin (there is no bio)