Oh, Danny Boy
A Reflection of the Work of Danny Boyle
28 Days Later
There is nothing worse than complacency -- remaining in the same boring loop, never taking any risks with your craft, never willing to fail in order to experiment with new skills. In the 21st century where technology advances every day, it's ridiculous to assume that directors would still use the same filmmaking techniques from the 1920s. Yet, 35mm (which was first used in 1925) is still considered the pièce de résistance of filmmaking and anything other than 35mm is "the death of cinema as we know it" (according to my, not so charming, friend Quentin). For an industry as old as Hollywood, innovation is the only way to progress, and Danny Boyle was one of the first major directors to strive for innovation.
When examining Danny Boyle's collection of work, the first thing that immediately jumps out at you is his dedication to being innovative. While directors like Tarantino and Spielberg funnel their time and money into using film cameras, Boyle has been advancing the craft by making beautiful and poetic (and Oscar winning) movies using digital.
Boyle's first escapade into the digital was with 28 Days Laters. 28 Days Later was a major success both with the critics and at the box office, proving that digital movies captured the attention and affection of audiences and critics just as much as film. Yet, the biggest triumph for both Boyle and digital filmmaking came when Boyle's film Slumdog Millionaire won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. This indicated to the world that Boyle's pioneering efforts in digital filmmaking were being noticed and appreciated by the industry.
Boyle's success with digital filmmaking had a major impact on the craft of filmmaking. Boyle's move to digital proved to the industry that the quality of a film isn't dependent on the type of camera or stock you use. It's about originality and creativity and passion. The style, heart, soul of a film is what makes it powerful, not the depth of the image in a wide shot.
The success of his films proved that accessible digital cameras are just as worthy as the expensive and cumbersome film cameras when it comes to creating provoking and inspiring films. It proved that budget-conscious filmmakers, who could only afford a consumer market digital camera, are able to produce and create content that was worthy of greatness.
By bringing digital to the table, Boyle gave filmmaking back to artists. The industry is constantly wrapped up in money, greed, and status -- only the biggest dogs with best toys can play. Only the directors with their big studio budgets and high box-office returns and their expensive 35mm film camera can make great movies. But by making a finely crafted and highly moving picture on digital, Boyle showed the industry that anyone with a high street digital camera and a passion for the craft can make a great movie.
But most importantly Boyle is forging new paths for the craft. He is creating new and innovative ways to make movies. He's not wrapped up in the prestige of being one of the few filmmakers still using film, rather he's pioneering new and innovative techniques that ensure that filmmaking is still revenant in our modern society. Yes, film is great, it produces a beautiful picture and looks wonderful on the big screen, but it's the 21st century and technology is advancing faster than anyone could have imagined. Likewise, film is outdated, and, in order to keep the craft alive, new techniques for telling stories in cinema need to be explored.
By watching this film collection, you can see who Boyle's move from film to digital didn't hinder his films, but rather gave them a new life and new fervor. Danny Boyle is a technological innovator, who is bringing creating a new life for the filmmaking craft.
Part I of Oh, Danny Boy| The Film Club