The Great Debate: British film directors

After a season in which the team won four of the nine events it entered, the women’s golf team received its second straight invitation to the NCAA Div. III golf championships this week. Senior Kristi Moss, one of five players who will represent the Blugolds at nationals next week, said the team expected to be invited there.

Story by Emily Gresbrink and Eric Larson

Danny Boyle
By Emily Gresbrink
The British are known for playing host to a slew of different things, be it those awesome accents, or fish and chips or the infamous tower on Parliament housing Big Ben. But England is also home to two fantastic directors, Guy Ritchie and Danny Boyle. Sure, they both have brought in various award nominations and acclaim for their movies, but in my humble opinion … Boyle has it going on.

Seriously though, Boyle knows how to make movie magic. And it’s not just blockbuster magic, like 28 Days Later, 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire (the latter two being Oscar nominees, if not best picture). This guy made TV movies and short films, and made Ewan McGregor famous with Trainspotting.

And what would life be without Ewan McGregor?

And look at the variety of films he makes! The drug dramas (Trainspotting), the zombie horror flicks (28 Days Later), the riveting biographies/adventures (127 Hours), and even a spin on romantic Bollywood movies (Slumdog Millionaire). Plus, he’s the artistic director for the 2012 Olympic games opening ceremony.

Ritchie basically only does stuff involving criminals and mystery. I don’t see him making riveting movies of all varieties, or directing opening ceremonies. Maybe being married to Madonna at one point is a good thing, but it must stink knowing your wife is more famous than you are.

People in America know who Danny Boyle is and what his movies are, and that’s the seal on that envelope. The only really notable thing Ritchie put out in the United States was Sherlock Holmes, and even then we only really cared about Robert Downey Jr.

“Guy who? You mean RDJ as Sherlock Holmes, oh!”

My point exactly. It’s obviously true that cinematic variety, visionary depth and overall talent have clearly beaten out monotony and Madonna.

Guy Ritchie
By Eric Larson
If there’s one word to adequately describe Guy Ritchie, it would be “cool.” Cool in nature, cool in style, cool in directing (I’d take a guess that he’s a smooth-talker with the ladies, too – after all, he was married to Madonna for eight years).

And above all that he’s renowned for — being a screenwriter and filmmaker, as well as a Greek historian, pub owner, businessman and law reformer (seriously, Wikipedia him) — the “cool” factor most certainly derives from his movies.

The humor-injected crime capers he dishes out are loaded with action, smart dialogue, and quick, snappy camera shots. The correlating music is always spot-on with the visuals, and his characters — as any Ritchie fanatic will tell you — are always hilarious. His style is just plain … well, it’s just cool. And the cult following he’s generated since his first film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), show that I’m far from alone in thinking it.

He recently even stepped into the American spotlight by directing 2009’s Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.

Now I’ll be the first to admit: this debate is not easy to write — I feel a bit of a ‘David and Goliath’ vibe in comparing Ritchie to the director of movie giants Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours.

Danny Boyle has done some great films (especially with, you know, the whole Oscar thing he’s got), and his variety is admittedly broader than Ritchie’s.

But what Boyle doesn’t have is a distinct style — and that, I think, is why I’ve always been drawn to Ritchie’s films.  His cool crime capers always deliver, and his recent step onto American turf show that he’s only growing as a director — and, of course, he’s bound to look stylish while doing so.

My verdict: Ritchie > Boyle.