BritBox, ‘Shallow Grave’ and not drinking gin

Watching Shallow Grave, because finally BritBox has augmented its previously meagre movie offering with some, I don’t know, actual films you might want to watch, instead of a miscellany of minor Carry Ons and half a dozen Ealings and Archers and Hitches.

It’s thanks to a lash-up to the Film4 brand, so we gets some decent fare – more from the 90s Scottish dream team of Boyle-Hodge-Mcdonald with Trainspotting; none-more-4 pictures like Bhaji On The Beach, Bent and Sister My Sister; crime classics like Mona Lisa, Sexy Beast and The Long Good Friday; and noirish dramas like Croupier, Hidden City and Paper Mask.

Could still do with a more comprehensive catalogue – particularly of stuff which otherwise wouldn’t get an airing (yer The Kitchen Toto, Drowning By Numbers, Young Soul Rebels, 1871, Eat The Rich, Angel, Giro City), but a good start nonetheless.

Anyway, Shallow Grave: I can still remember watching it for the first time, mainly for the fact that I missed everything up to the final ten minutes or so.

I’d met up with a bunch of oppos in a pub back in the homelands, for the first time since our post-school diaspora. A fine time was had, except for the discovery of my kryptonite – quinine.

Turns out G&T is definitely not my drink of choice. The proof of this was Pollocksed all over the pub’s toilets, and then after chucking out time all over the exterior of a friend’s car. He had offered to drive us to the new kip of one of our number up in Sunny Hackney (in short order a decision he would come to regret), hence my queasy head bouncing into and out of vomity unconsciousness for all thirty miles of its sojourn , periodically purging out the window.

Can’t say I remember much about that journey, except being very confused at one point to wake up alone in the front passenger seat in an empty Jeep at an East London Maccy D Drive-Thru.

Anyway, got to matey-boy’s digs, met his flatmates, ‘Have you seen Shallow Grave? It’s great,’ says he, sliding a VHS into the video and pressing Play, and promptly I fall asleep on the floor to the opening bars of the Leftfield score, waking only right at the end ready for the reprise to kick in. But it was enough to catch the final reel fight, Sabatier-in-the-shoulder, that foley and all, and the twist, and I was hooked. So we watched it all over again. A decent flick, and shows how Boyle stretched himself from competent episodic TV drama director to an exciting, filmic helmsman.

As an aside, I do like how we the audience are manipulated to identify with the wrong person at every step. When David asks “Is that going to be deep enough?” we’re invited to roll our eyes at his pessimism, especially when Alex casually shuts him down with “Don’t worry about it!” But THE CLUE IS IN THE NAME!

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