Trainspotting (1996)

R   |    |  Drama


Trainspotting (1996) Poster

Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

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8.2/10
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  • Kelly Macdonald in Trainspotting (1996)
  • Danny Boyle in Trainspotting (1996)
  • Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller in Trainspotting (1996)
  • Ewen Bremner in Trainspotting (1996)
  • Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting (1996)
  • Ewen Bremner in Trainspotting (1996)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


12 March 2008 | ametaphysicalshark
A triumphant masterpiece
Danny Boyle's "Trainspotting" is a film in which everything goes the right way. Few films are fortunate to 'be' at the right time and right place and take the world by storm as "Trainspotting" did, but the ultimate proof of this film's greatness is that if you watched it alone or with a large group of people, in 2008 or in 1996, it has the same effect- absolute power. This film is nothing more- or less- than one of the most effective and perfect artistic works ever committed to celluloid.

The film follows the lives of a group of drug attics in Scotland in the late 1980's but is constructed less as a conventional narrative and more as a series of vignettes connected by characters and set to the film's dazzling soundtrack (the fact that I mention the scenes being 'set' to the soundtrack is proof of its importance in this particular film). Almost every scene is as powerful as the next, with three montages in particular being possibly the definitive examples of how to do a memorable cinematic montage.

Pop culture has been kind to "Trainspotting", remembering it as a unique and great film, especially in Britain. I certainly do not disagree with this consensus, but I feel the film has been hurt by familiarity, with even television series like "Family Guy" parodying the film's well-known scenes (and badly). This doesn't mean that the film's popularity is being hurt, but that it doesn't feel as fresh and original to people now as it did back in 1996. This is hardly the thing the film's reputation suffers most from however, with the significantly large number of people who claim the film supports and promotes drug use. I have to ask, and forgive my rudeness, how stupid can you possibly be? No, drug addicts in this film are not vilified, but they are consistently shown in a brutally realistic and horrifically tragic context, and just because the film doesn't go out of its way to emotionally manipulate you into completely hating its characters doesn't mean that it promotes drug use, it means that it's a knowing film careful enough not to become a sappy, melodramatic Hollywood product.

The acting is phenomenal, the music is terrific, the film is a pitch-perfect example of energizing editing and brilliant use of montage, and its script is one of the best ever written, alternately hilarious, horrifying, tragic, and benefiting from a rare level of depth and resonance. A British classic is what Trainspotting is recognized as, and a British classic is what it is.

10/10

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Irvine Welsh had been approached by film-makers before about adapting "Trainspotting" for the screen but had resisted their offers. He was won over by Andrew Macdonald and John Hodge's enthusiasm for the project but only on the condition that they didn't adopt a Ken Loach semi-documentary approach to the material.


Quotes

Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed ...


Goofs

When Tommy is bench pressing a weights bar while telling Renton about the snooker club, the weights on the bar are clearly made of plastic but they make a clinking sound as if made from metal.


Crazy Credits

Profile pictures of the cast are shown during the beginning of the end credits.


Alternate Versions

The Special Edition did not feature the trailer and video. These were available in the Green Edition. UK 'Green Edition' video release is in widescreen format and includes the nine extra scenes featured in the box set special edition, the original theatrical trailer (which doesn't use any of the film's footage) and the complete promotional video of Underworld's Born Slippy, the hit song spawned from the soundtrack.


Soundtracks

Temptation
Performed by
New Order
Written by Stephen Morris / Peter Hook / Bernard Sumner / Gillian Gilbert
Published by Be Music/Warner Chappell Music Ltd
Courtesy of London Records Ltd (UK)

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