**½/**** Image A+ Sound A Extras A
starring Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, Ken Stott
screenplay by John Hodge
directed by Danny Boyle
by Jefferson Robbins The title, in retrospect, is an indictment. Danny Boyle's debut feature Shallow Grave made a splash both in the UK and abroad, but his flatmate protagonists are so thin and hastily sketched, their interfaces with the world beyond their stylish fourth-floor walk-up so glancing and limited, that even the inevitable comeuppances for their bad behaviour don't interest us much. When three striving young Edinburgh roommates happen into a questionable cash windfall and run afoul of brutal gangsters and nosy coppers, the real marvel is that we're buffaloed into caring by some forthright performances and by Boyle's visually striking helmsmanship. The characters' motivations beyond the suitcase MacGuffin are pretty much absent: They're fatally shallow, with grave consequences. Boyle misdirects us away from these concerns, already hinting towards the vertiginous risks he'd take two years later with Trainspotting (there's even a creepy animated baby, of a sort), and his cast is frighteningly talented and appealing. Yet it's hard to shake the notion that we've unwrapped a prettily-wrapped gift package containing nothing but socks.