Director In Focus: Danny Boyle


Danny Boyle is one of the most creative directors of our time. His style is truly one of the most unique and original in recent film. Boyle’s filmography is extensive and includes a number of well known and successful films such as Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, and 28 Days Later. Boyle’s signature style is so synonymous with his films that you could probably spot one of his films just from a single shot.

There is an undying energy to Boyle’s films and a visual flair which makes his films so recognisable. His fast edits and creative cinematography are two of his signature qualities. In films such as Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours Danny Boyle does not limit himself to simply recording the film. Each of his shots adds more quality to the film in the way that the camera is always changing position, from long shots to high or low angle. This is enhanced further by subtle effects such as a moment of slow motion or grainy film stock. As well as this, Boyle’s ability to choose suitable music for a film is exceptional. Unlike many movies, his films do not rely completely on a score made specifically for the movie. His music sources are widely spread and taken from a huge variety of genres. The beauty in his films also is that at times certain pieces of music will seem incongruous with the scene it is in, yet it works at enhancing an already exciting film.

Danny Boyle is a director that can turn a small budget movie into a Hollywood sensation. He explained that his method is to take films with small budgets, and make them ‘look like $100 million dollars’. In this he certainly succeeds. Home grown, independent, indie films can sometimes lack the excitement and creativity which a story requires. However Boyle is able to provide film after film which not only tell incredible stories, but look and feel sensational aswell. Boyle is known as the director which most up and coming actors want to work with, and gave actors such as Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) and Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) their ‘big break’ in the acting industry.

He is incredibly humble and is one of the few directors that does not let success motivate his creative and professional decisions. A most recent example of this was when Boyle rejected a knighthood after his creation of the spectacular opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics, an unforgettable moment in British television and Olympic history. In 2009, Boyle received the Oscar for best director for his film Slumdog Millionaire. In true Danny Boyle style he received the award ‘in the spirit of Tigger’ as he hopped up and down on the stage, in order to honour a promise to his children.

Danny Boyle is incredibly versatile in his film making style. He can create epic films through ordinary stories such as Trainspotting, or create an equally successful piece through sci-fi or thrillers such as Sunshine and 28 Days Later. Boyle can work with both Hollywood sensations such as Leonardo DiCaprio, or talented up- and- coming young actors such as Dev Patel, and still succeed in creating films of equal, if not more critical acclaim than movies which simply rely on an all star cast. Boyle’s directing style is one which continues to grow and evolve, yet never loses sight of his signature style which make him one of the most unique and successful directors of our time.

Did you know?

  • Boyle is one of 8 directors to win the Golden Globe, Director’s Guild, BAFTA and Oscar for the same movie, Slumdog Millionaire.
  • Danny Boyle directed James Franco’s only Oscar nominated performance in 127 Hours.
  • Boyle temporarily fell out with Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, after giving the role of Richard in The Beach to Leonardo DiCaprio, but giving McGregor the impression that he would get the role.

Danny’s Favourites:

  • The film Apocalypse Now, which ‘fuelled’ his ‘obsession with experiences in the cinema’.
  • The talented Ewan McGregor who has featured in three of Danny Boyle’s films.
  • His hometown, and favourite football team Manchester United.

The Film You Should Watch: one of Britain’s most iconic films, Trainspotting (1996).


About Author

Former Film Editor for The Edge, second year history student, Irish dancer and film enthusiast. My biggest inspiration is by Bear Grylls. Yes Bear Grylls. Originally from West London.


  1. George Seabrook on

    I love Danny Boyle, and this is a really good feature. Obviously lots of passion for his work and style. You name-check nearly all of his films, although I am curious – what do you think about Trance? It’s a really pulpy and stylish con/heist film, with a great cast, and a few incredibly clever moments of camerawork. Seriously: there is a scene in a car that will mean something totally different to you when it’s watched a second time.

  2. Hollie Geraghty on

    I absolutely love Trance. Can’t believe I didn’t mention it! I think its a film that includes everything that is Danny Boyle’s style. With such a twisted plot he did such a good job at keeping it clear, interesting, yet maintaining mystery throughout. Cinematography is outstanding as usual and the soundtrack is something else!

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