The 12 Best Danny Boyle Movies, Ranked

When ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ won the Best Picture Oscar in 2009, the acclaimed Danny Boyle registered himself with golden letters in the historic annals of celluloid as one of the greatest directors ever to take to the screen. The British director’s distinct style of blending his characters with his narrative with seamless ease. He is perhaps the only director who has made films which are both narrative-driven and character driven.

While his imposing techniques can at times present an altruistic challenge for the audiences, his artistic prowess humbles with a quotidian charm. Here is the list of top Danny Boyle movies that you must watch. Happy reading!


12. A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

In Heaven, which resembles a working space, angels conspire for the mortals to find love. Without taking into account their circumstances and plausible relationships, they conspire to make everyone find love. They choose an incompetent abductor and his lively hostage for the same purpose. The film’s utopian idea was perhaps the perfect chance to symbolize homosexuality and maybe make a statement to then administrations around the globe. Alas, the idea was morphed with metaphysical cinematic-frippery and an overdramatic plot which was dull and uninspired.


11. Shallow Grave (1994)

Boyle’s directorial debut focuses on three eccentric roommates whose search for a fourth ends with disaster, as the mysterious fourth, Hugo, dies of an apparent drug overdose. To their obscure knowledge, two mobsters are ruthlessly tracking down Hugo’s whereabouts, and the three are next. The two are killed by David when ambushed, leaving his mental state wobbly, which forces him to believe Juliet and Alex are conspiring against him. In an attempt to ‘save’ himself, he attacks and mortally wounds Alex but gets interrupted and falls dead when Juliette intervenes. With Alex’s denial to go with her to Rio, she takes the suitcase of money and further drills the knife into Alex, who to her surprise, filed the suitcase with headline clips, and hid the money beneath the floorboards, and is still alive when discovered by the police. Drugs and money have been central themes of almost all Boyle films. ‘Shallow Grave’ is no different as the two drive the narrative which is paced to perfection and employs characters which harmonize the balance of attention with effortless ease.


10. Sunshine (2007)

The Boyle-Garland collaboration was inspired by the master Kubrick’s ‘2001’. The film is about the crew of a spacecraft on a dangerous mission to the Sun. In 2057, with the Earth in peril from the dying Sun, the crew is sent on a mission to reignite the star with a nuclear bomb that has a mass equivalent to Manhattan Island. Behind the scenes, the director required the internationally global cast to live together and familiarize as a part of his idea of method acting. The cast included names like Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, and Chris Evans. The angelical and dystopian elements of the film were inherently simplistic in nature and were captured with an unbiased eye. A truly marvellous achievement in filmmaking and serves as yet another reinforcement in Boyle’s capability as a visionary auteur.


9. The Beach (2000)

The reason ‘The Beach’ is placed above other critically acclaimed films is its metaphorical and altruistic idea of our society. With a gifted cast that includes actors like Dicaprio and Tilda Swinton, ‘The Beach’ undoubtedly presents some of Boyle’s best work in artistic terms. The plot creates the characters of Richard and Sal, who meet on the pristine island of Ko Samui after Richard is left a map by Daffy, a stranger who commits suicide. Their relationship with each other and the island is explored through various territorial events like bonfire parties and agricultural tasks. The interesting dynamics of their emotional intellect and mental vulnerability owing to the island are vaguely put forth. Even though panned by critics and negatively spoken of by the director himself, ‘The Beach’ presents a medley of sacrifice and love in the utmost appealing of fashions.


8. Trance (2013)

Vincent Cassel is one of those actors who is sacrilegiously underrated. His range and adaptability as an actor are really overlooked and so are his worthy performances. The psychological-thriller is a ravishing and stylish film which combines art with intrinsic human tendencies of greed and selfishness. Simon is an auctioneer, who steals a painting, Goya’s WItches in the Air, from his auction house. As a gang attacks the gathering, led by the slick Frank, Simon quickly hides it in a package. As Frank gets hold of it and finds nothing, he strikes a blow to Simon’s head and makes him a victim of amnesia. After his and his gang’s failed attempts at retrieving information from Simon, they hire a hypnotherapist, Elizabeth. The two elicit romantic feelings off one another and hatch a plan to run away with the painting. McAvoy’s growing stature as a lead certainly was benefited with his turn as Simon. Deceitful, erotic, and thoroughly enjoying, ‘Trance’ is a bold attempt at exploring human greed and admiration for art.


7. T2 Trainspotting (2017)

Continuing in the same vein as its phenomenal predecessor, ‘T2’ partially succeeds in recreating its magic. The film retains the original cast and adds a new one, pitting them up against a glaring reunion. Revenge and humanistic greed fuels the narrative as Begbie seeks to kill Renton for his crimes. Noticeably slower, ‘T2’ wins the emotional battle with its predecessor. Set in different times and driven by different motivations, ‘T2’ is ecstatic and slightly mature and provides a happy reunion of the four men of the previous film.

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