English Film Director Danny Boyle Film Analysis Essay (Movie Review)

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Background of Danny Boyle

Perhaps the most talented and successful man in the filmmaking industry is the English filmmaker and film director, Danny Boyle. Born on October 20 in 1956 in the town of Radcliffe to Irish parents from the Galway County, Danny Boyle emerged as an outstanding filmmaker within England.1 Raised in a Christian family of the Irish Catholic environment with his mother being a priest, Boyle grew with theistic values by serving as an altar boy.

Throughout his early life to the age of 14 years, Christian values were inherent, but he gradually began engaging in a theatrical drama and emerged as a dramatist.2 Danny Boyle soon realized his potency in drama and art industry and made a decision to join a training college in Bolton and later advanced his studies on English and Drama in university.

One of his remarkable moves towards expounding his knowledge in drama and acting was his social approach in university that made him befriend and date Frances Barber, who remains a recognized actress to date.3 Upon graduating, Danny Boyle joined Joint Stock Theater Company and started his career. Subsequently, he joined the Royal Court Theater in the 1980s, where he began directing his first movie named The Genius. In 1987, Danny Boyle developed an interest in television production and began working for the BBC Northern Ireland as a television producer, who produced films such as the Controversial Elephant.4

He grew to the position of directorship within the same organization and directed television shows, including For the Greater Good and Arise and Go Now and Inspector Morse. Danny Boyle developed an irresistible interest in filmmaking after watching Apocalypse Now. He then directed Shallow Grave and prospered.

Philosophies of Danny Boyle

Much of the movies that Danny Boyle directed reveal his unique philosophies in the field of filmmaking and drama directorship. The most important principle that Danny Boyle demonstrates in his movies is the philosophy of atheism, where he believes that rather than believing in deities or certain religious beliefs, persons should clinch on realities.5

This makes Danny Boyle unique in his filmmaking techniques since he refutes certain principles of art, drama, or filmmaking and inserts a personal stamp to his movies. Although fixed to certain personal principles of film reproduction, Danny Boyle recognizes himself as a spiritual atheist, who believes in the notions that the entire universe is complete and connected in some way to form one piece.6 Being a spiritual theist modeled through spiritual norms, Danny Boyle has the principle of self-esteem that promotes the creation of personal health and happiness.

Danny Boyle believes that irrespective of the hierarchy of social standards, individuals must respect the laws of nature since spiritual atheism disregards those, who violate the nature of the world.7 Spiritual Atheists are people, who believe in the literal presence of individual spirits and collective spirits that define how people should behave within themselves and among others.

The movies of Danny Boyle pioneered through the spiritual philosophy include movies such as Trance, Not Even God Is Wise Enough, and Sunshine amongst others.8 His approach to philosophical issues based on the atheism principles makes him an outstanding philosophical filmmaker, who incorporates an array of genres with idealistic components. The Sunshine movie and the Slum-dog Millionaire movie enabled Boyle to delve into a wider philosophical base, where self-esteem virtues, mythical possibilities, religious themes, and freedom are dominant.9

Main themes inherent in his movies

The main themes that director Danny Boyle indulges in are themes that portray elements of philosophy, history, religion, and natural science, including biology with most of his movies demonstrating human reasoning. His latest movie, Trance, which is still trolling within theaters as a thrilling movie, is a film that demonstrates how personal spirit affects the reasoning of individuals.10

Through Trance, Danny Boyle portrays human memory as an intrinsic creative force that is responsible for the reconstruction of individual experience rather than imitations. In the theme of Trance, Danny Boyle believes that memory can hamper and interfere with personal consciousness, and subsequently result in obstruction of personal freedom.11 Such perspective brings the notion or theme of individual freedom that is inherent in the aspects of spiritual atheism, which recognizes the influence of individual spirit in human reasoning. Another significant theme is the social life of humans.

In social life, Danny Boyle slightly demonstrates themes of love through fiction movies such as the Alien Love Triangle. The theme of history is rarely missing in most movies of Danny Boyle, especially the history that matters most to the understanding of the transformations made to modern life.12 Danny Boyle captures his viewers in his movie Sunshine, through demonstrating a unique British history when the red buses played an important role in the London transport system.

Through his Sunshine movie, the theme of technology appears where Boyle demonstrates the significant transformation in the transport system that has enabled man to explore the space.13 Danny Boyle also portrays themes of natural science and the power of nature in his film the 127 hours that shows an experienced and wiry adventurer trapped in a rock, leading to the performance of surgeries to heal him.

Most famous works of Danny Boyle

Perhaps all of the movies under the directorship of Danny Boyle are thrilling and tantalizing, but certain works have made him more famous. Through his unique theatrical directorship and filmmaking techniques, Boyle came up with the Slum-dog Millionaire that made him win the most precious award, Oscar Award, as an Oscar-winning drama in the year 2010.14

Viewers acclaimed the movie due to its captivating plot, creative soundtrack, and amazing directorship. Back in 2008, Boyle scooped numerous awards during Austin Film Festival for his perceived extraordinary directorship skills and contribution to the filmmaking and drama.15 The Shallow Grave film is another thrilling award-winning film of 1994 under the Best Newcomer Award category in the London Film Awards of 1996.16 His creative directorship made giant film distributors and sponsors, such as PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and UKs Channel 4, support Shallow Grave.

Shallow Grave made Boyle achieve historical commercial success in the filmmaking industry by making the highest film sales in the United Kingdom and the United States.17 This single movie made Danny Boyle, an internationally renowned film producer, and director. Towards the 2000s, and especially 2008-2010, Danny Boyle has made significant moves in his filmmaking and movie production career due to the outstanding recognition of Slum-dog Millionaire that made him win the Best Achievement in Directing Award.18 Slum-dog Millionaire has also made Boyle appear in numerous nominations for the Best Director of Motion Picture Awards. 28 Days Later and Sunshine are other films that emerged from the captivating filmmaking techniques of Boyle. Boyle directed the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony that made him win the awards of the most Outstanding Art Director of Nonfiction Event Programming.19

Major critiques of the director

Despite being a successful moviemaker and winning numerous important awards, the works of Danny Boyle have not lacked criticisms from viewers and film analysts.20 Danny Boyle is a director known for his theatrical expertise and philosophy of self-mind that make him produce philosophical movies with fictional elements. Some of his latest works in the movie Trance have not impressed some of his fans in London and other European ports, especially after allegations of art theft.21

Critics contend that Boyle must be losing his creativity after elements and scenes of his Trance movie revealed manipulated art, especially having a resemblance to Psycho-Fantasia of Christopher Nolan.22 Although good in directing movies, analysts have portrayed Boyle as a poor cinematographer, who fails to balance lighting as his technique of lighted-up screens in Trance, fail to prove creative to most of his lamenting fans.

How Boyle partnered with Anthony Mantle, who is a trusted cinematographer to produce Trance, has been a questionable issue regarding his creativity and expertise in filmmaking and movie production.23 The philosophical approach to create the fictitious movie without proper arrangement has angered fans, who expected that a commercialized film like Trance with a huge budget of its kind should have appeared more fascinating than it currently appears.24 Some fans of this movie have proved skeptical about the reproduction of such a movie that cost a lot of million dollars, only to prove unpleasant to most of his enduring viewers.25 Some even postulate that the fictional element of science proved illogical as it affects the storyline of the whole movie.


  1. Alexander Linklater, “”, The Guardian.
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  9. Anthony Quinn, “”, The Independent.
  10. Anthony Quinn
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  17. Alexander Linklater, ““, The Guardian, Sunday. 2009.
  18. Alexander Linklater
  19. Alexander Linklater
  20. Anthony Quinn
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  22. Anthony Quinn
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  25. Anthony Quinn

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