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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

12 February 2009
Slumdog Millionaire 
directed by Danny Boyle.
January 2009
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... pumping in the front row of a vast dancing crowd; everyone’s moves are vivid and complicated and beautifully choreographed. Even the trains look as if they want to get in on the act. The movie is DannyBoyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, now playing nearly everywhere and sporting ten Academy Award nominations. It’s a brittle and clever movie, often uncertain about its intentions, and sometimes, it ...


Richard Lloyd Parry: Alex Garland

15 October 1998
The Beach 
by Alex Garland.
Penguin, 439 pp., £5.99, June 1997, 0 14 025841 8
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The Tesseract 
by Alex Garland.
Viking, 215 pp., £9.99, September 1998, 0 670 87016 1
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... Less than two years after the publication of Alex Garland’s first novel, The Beach, one of cinema’s most fashionable young directors (DannyBoyle) and its most adored male star (Leonardo Di Caprio) are about to make a film version of it, a remarkable achievement for an author of 28, but in other ways an inevitable one. Few novels are so ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Kitsch and Kilts in Celtic Park

20 August 2014
... In fairness, the organisers’ awareness was pretty much at full stretch: they had the meaning of a whole nation to cram onto an LED screen the length of Sauchiehall Street, plus they had Susan Boyle, the underdogs’ underdog, who is required by popular edict to sing with the winds of destiny blowing about her skirts. I think the wind machine at Parkhead might have been too strong, though, even ...


Jenny Turner: ‘T2 Trainspotting’

16 February 2017
... a wavery wee voice, the voice of a man who has never been anywhere near a drama lesson ever. He’s almost corpsing into the camera, he’s enjoying himself so much. T2 Trainspotting does the trick DannyBoyle did with the London Olympics ceremony, reflecting its audience straight back on itself, only bigger and nicer and much, much better-looking, wrapping it in a shiny gift bag, tied up with a bow ...


Will Self: Battersea Power Station

18 July 2013
... station about the size of the average family home. ‘Isn’t it fantastic,’ he enthused, ‘it’s the one they used for the Olympics’ closing ceremony, one of only seven iconic buildings that DannyBoyle chose.’ Inside the suite I took my squishy seat at an opulent lozenge of a table, Alison settled herself a few places off, Tincknell launched straight into his PowerPoint spiel – just as if ...

Death in Plain Sight

Marina Warner: Emily Davison, Modern Martyr

4 July 2013
... modelled on Edith Craig, the artist daughter of Ellen Terry, who designed some of the movement’s banners. When he created the spectacular story of the nation for the opening of the Olympic Games, DannyBoyle rightly included a glimpse – it was only a glimpse – of a suffragette march. Davison’s ideas for political actions prefigure Act-Up interventions and demos; she’s a natural precursor of ...

The Thrill of It All

Michael Newton: Zombies

18 February 2016
Zombies: A Cultural History 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Reaktion, 224 pp., £16, August 2015, 978 1 78023 528 8
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... Chagnon, who, extrapolating from his work with the Yanomamo, was supposed to have shown that human beings are in essence violent. This thought strikes the vitalising spark in most zombie films. In DannyBoyle and Alex Garland’s film 28 Days Later (2002), Christopher Eccleston’s quietly deranged army officer argues that there’s nothing new about the epidemic of rage that has brought Britain ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Susan Boyle

14 May 2009
... about what they’ve seen. It has also changed the means of production by placing it, in the most vivid cases, in the hands of amateurs, but amateurs now with access to a universal audience. Susan Boyle, a 48-year-old spinster from West Lothian, appeared a few weeks ago on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent. ‘I’ve always wanted to perform in front of a large audience,’ she said to the ...

Strange Stardom

David Haglund: James Franco

17 March 2011
Palo Alto: Stories 
by James Franco.
Faber, 197 pp., £12.99, January 2011, 978 0 571 27316 4
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... loosen up’. In the meantime, he’s started a PhD in English literature at Yale and begun taking classes at the Rhode Island School of Design. And he’s just given one of his best performances in DannyBoyle’s 127 Hours, as the real-life hiking enthusiast Aron Ralston, who eight years ago was trapped in a canyon in Utah, eventually cutting his arm off with a dull knife and rappelling, one-armed ...

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