Some things are completely worth the wait. And in anticipation for Danny Boyle's upcoming U.S. release for the sequel T2 Trainspotting, one that took him over two decades to complete, I finally had the pleasure of encountering my favorite filmmaker at an exclusive Q&A. Boyle's stylish approach and unique ability to capture raw emotions make him an absolute treasure within the industry. Therefore, it's with great pleasure that I devote March's Movie List of the Month to Danny Boyle's finest films (February's list).
Honorable Mention: Millions, Steve Jobs and T2 Trainspotting
#5. 28 Days Later (2002)
Fresh off the mixed reception for his ambitious 2000 endeavor, The Beach, Danny Boyle teamed with writer extraordinaire, Alex Garland (Ex Machina), to deliver one of the finest zombie films of all-time. Cillian Murphy stars as Jim, a comatose man who awakes to find that the city of London is a ghost town. Jim crosses paths with a few other survivors who, in tandem, try to find sanctuary from a zombie apocalypse. At its most horrific moments, 28 Days Later paints a bitter portrait of humankind's savage nature, and does so long before pop culture hits like The Walking Dead made it "cool" and "edgy".
#4. Trance (2013)
As a proud Danny Boyle loyalist, I remember venturing out to a nearly-empty theater in the early afternoon on a week day to catch his newly released work, Trance. I was shocked by how little attention was given to this truly fascinating piece of filmmaking. James McAvoy stars as a deadbeat art auctioneer who gets in deep with a loan-shark (Vincent Cassel) and organizes the robbery of a pricey painting. Yet, the auctioneer loses his memory after being hit on the head during the heist and, when the loan-shark discovers the real painting had been swapped out with a worthless one, they must do whatever's necessary to locate its whereabouts. Trance represents a clever and cerebral story filled with twists and an immaculate finale, something of a staple for Boyle's oeuvre.
#3. Trainspotting (1996)
Evident by his patient two decade-long return to the material, Danny Boyle's iconic 1996 indie title, Trainspotting, stands as a sentimental effort for the filmmaker. This tale of a heroin-addicted anti-hero named Renton (Ewan McGregor), desperate to move on from the streets of Edinburgh and get clean helped shape an entire generation of youth. Trainspotting not only edged its way into the hearts of movie-lovers all across the globe, it also helped put Boyle himself on the map. This personal story filled with unique characters made for a phenomenal indie effort over 20 years ago, and also a very strong sequel that arrives in the U.S. later this month.
#2. 127 Hours (2010)
Despite Trainspotting's immense global adoration, evident by its current #157 ranking on IMDB's Top 250 films of all-time, Danny Boyle's level of expertise happens to shine brighter in the 2010 survival tale, 127 Hours. Based on the true story of outdoor enthusiast Aron Ralston (played by James Franco), who had to go to extreme measures in order to free himself from a being pinned down by a falling rock in Utah, Boyle places the audience in the middle of Aron's 5-day struggle for survival. This gut-wrenching and visceral examination of the human spirit's will to survive is emotionally taxing and spiritually invigorating. 127 Hours relies on a fantastic Oscar-nominated lead performance by James Franco, an amazing score by A.R. Rahman, and Boyle's distinct vision to deliver an unforgettable movie experience.
#1. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
For all of Boyle's many cinematic achievements, none stand out as much as his Best Picture Oscar winner, Slumdog Millionaire. This undeniable masterpiece also handed Boyle a Directing Oscar as well. Slumdog Millionaire follows a pair of orphan brothers who raise themselves on the dangerous streets of Mumbai, India, escaping child exploitation and other detestable treatment. Yet, when Jamal (Dev Patel) reconnects with the love of his life, Latika (Freida Pinto), years later, he goes through a remarkable journey to free her from her abusive "master". Simon Beaufoy pens an immaculate screenplay that's brought to life by Boyle and complemented beautifully by an Oscar-winning score from R.A. Rahman. Slumdog Millionaire isn't just Danny Boyle's most crowning achievement, it's one of Hollywood's greatest love stories of all-time.