Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise (2001)

Danny Boyle’s bleak depiction of the state of British society is the antithesis of gritty, hard realism: it sensationalizes the mundane. Using Jim Cartwright’s crackling script, Boyle realizes a highly stylized vision of urban Britain that brings viewers close to some disagreeable characters. But although these characters might often seem unscrupulous or selfish, Boyle brings out the humanity of even the most dishonest salesman when he implies that the blind ambition of winning something as worthless as the ‘Golden Vac’ boils down to a desire for a little bit of respect. The standout achievement of Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise is Boyle’s innovative approach to making a unique black comedy that is both funny and sympathetic.
Vacuuming Completely Nude contains a highly stylized version of life in Manchester that is unflinchingly depressing in its squalor and grimness. It is against this grey background that Boyle draws the characters of Pete and Tommy Rag – one is an aspiring DJ, one an aspiring champion of vacuum salesmen. The parallel desires of these two men are brought to life by some electric performances by Michael Begley and Timothy Spall, who are, in their dismal ways, striving to realize their dreams. Boyle heightens the feel of each frame by using a variety of camera angles and his music video style of film making lends itself well to the task of making such grim lives so visually interesting. In choosing the life of economically depressed northern England as his subject, Boyle and Cartwright suggest that fufillment comes in many strange forms, none of which are less worthy.