What does Danny Boyle know that Guy Ritchie needs to learn?
This weekend, I saw "Slumdog Millionaire" at the theater and viewed "RocknRolla" on DVD. For viewing pleasure, it was no contest.
The former is the overwhelming favorite for the Academy Award for Best Picture, while the latter was mediocre at best.
At the end of "RocknRolla," the credits suggest that Ritchie has a sequel in mind, though the movie already seemed too much like "Snatch" or "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." Maybe I'm just getting tired of British gangsters. Oh, and I don't really care to see Thandie Newton sleepwalk through another film.
Boyle has never made a movie quite like "Slumdog" and now has a made a variety of interesting films. Sure, like "Millions," Boyle has directed a movie about children, gangsters, and lots of money. And yes, as in "Trainspotting," trains play an important role in "Slumdog." But the characters and their stories are interesting and alive in "Slumdog" in a way that the thugs in "RocknRolla" can never be.
I wasn't taken with Boyle's "Sunshine," but it held my attention and seemed admirably ambitious. His "28 Days Later" was somewhat predictable, but fairly entertaining. "Shallow Grave" is a genuine hidden treasure, worth finding on DVD.
In sum, Boyle has made a credible sci-fi flick, a contemporary horror favorite, a family film that is entertaining for both adults and children, a cutting black comedy, an art-house movie laden with observations about our society, and a crime drama/romance movie that appeals to a very wide audience.
Guy Ritchie, if he doesn't branch out soon, is in danger of making an endless stream of movies featuring Jason Stratham and his lot. Yawn.
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