10. Yesterday (2019)
Danny Boyle, the man behind such visceral hits as 127 Hours and 28 Days Later, directing a nostalgia-driven rom-com from the pen of Love Actually and Bridget Jones’ Diary screenwriter Richard Curtis is an idea that shouldn’t have worked. The contrasts in styles, sensibilities and priorities seemed like too great of a stumbling block to overcome, yet in Yesterday it somehow worked. The movie, inspired by the music and legacy of The Beatles, was far from spectacular, but it had some strong moments and was ultimately an enjoyable albeit throwaway watch that was bound to satisfy fans of the legendary band and those who wanted a couple of hours away from the stresses of the real world. This Boyle outing felt more like a gun-for-hire piece of work than a passion project, but it was efficient, enjoyable and hardly as divisive as the films before it in this list, securing it the final top 10 spot.
9. 127 Hours (2010)
Nominated for 6 Oscars – including Best Picture – 127 Hours was a sort of phenomenon in Hollywood that most people quickly forgot about, Boyle’s brave visual decision to tell vast portions of the film through the hero’s own video camera being an ultimate “I’m in all the way” or “what is this?” choice for the audience that, regardless of which side you landed on, shone the film in an of-its-time, almost cheesy, light. Described by most as “visceral”, the use of sound in 127 Hours is particularly outstanding, a layover from the respect Boyle earned for the craft with his earlier film Sunshine. This, mixed with particularly gruesome visuals perfected earlier in the likes of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, and a performance that put star James Franco on the map for dramatic roles, make for interesting albeit flawed Boyle outing that fails to push beyond 9th on this list.
8. Millions (2004)
Based on Frank Cottrell Boyce’s novel of the same name, Millions mixed a sentimental and sweet natured story about a child who finds a bag of UK Pound Sterling in his backyard just days ahead of the switch to the Euro with some of Boyle’s trademark visual wizardry and the director’s now trademark digitally-perfected camera tricks to offer a rather lovely respite between two of the director’s most recognisable movies, 28 Days Later and Sunshine. Millions was an obvious change in atmosphere from the usually dark, horror-inspired outings Boyle had become associated with, but it was one that not only proved he could maintain his unique feeling across movies of any genre, but one that also proved he could maintain his unique visual style too. Millions isn’t a film oft-associated with the director as it wasn’t nearly as big as his most iconic films, but it was a damned good movie nonetheless.