Movie of the Day – Trainspotting

Ah youth culture and their disenfranchised view of life.  Trainspotting was one of the films that had this reckless abandonment of establish norms and showed what the youth culture was really about.  Now I was born in 1985, so I can’t say I grew experiencing the joys of being a shiftless layabout giving myself a daily dose of heroin injections, but after seeing this movie I am glad I grew up just a bit later in life.  While I think some people look at Trainspotting as this scrapbook of the youth culture, it’s a powerful film about drug addiction and the effects it has on a group of people.  You watch people in a cultural rich environment choose to junk up their lives as some sort of middle finger to the life that is around them, dabbling further into a demented world in which the needle seems more appealing than life.

Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), a young man with few prospects and fewer ambitions, lives in economically depressed Edinburgh. Like most of his friends, Renton is a heroin addict who loves the drug’s blissful nothingness; financing his habit also provides excitement and challenges that his life otherwise lacks. Renton’s two best friends are also junkies: Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), a snappy dresser obsessed with James Bond, and Spud (Ewan Bremner), a guileless nerd who suggests Pee Wee Herman’s debauched cousin. Renton and his pals also hang out with Begbie (Robert Carlyle), a borderline psychotic who loathes junkies even though he drinks like a fish. After one too many brushes with the law, Renton kicks heroin and moves to London, where he finds a job, a flat, and something close to peace of mind. However, Sick Boy, Begbie, and Spud all arrive at his doorstep on the trail of a big score, leading Renton back into drugs and crime. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

I am a Danny Boyle fan through and through.  Everyone of his films is beautifully composed, directed, paced and evocative in it’s imagery.  Also he finds a way to inject a fantastic, hypnotic score into his films as it compliments scene after scene of his movies.  Trainspotting is one of his better films in the directing department.  Handing the drug addled kids of the film is done with the same tact as Darren Aronofsky with Requiem for a Dream.  There is a bit of sadness in the movie as you watch Renton and the gang become obliviously to the life of the city around them.  Beautifully contrasted city scapes and the dinginess of heroin houses and mucky bars visualize the descent that the group goes through in life.

The movie is pretty much the reason why I don’t do drugs, cause holy hell is their life filled with bleak despair and emaciated physiques.  Renton, played by McGregor is mesmerizing on screen as you watch him go through life with a carefree attitude at first then falling into a disarray with constant drug use.  He embodies the mentality of the generation at the time, one of who has the whole world in front of him and the power to make of his life what he wants.  Slowly watching him throw away his life with heroin and abuse on a roller coaster that  eventually sees him hitting the every bottom of life.  While the secondary characters are great, all the acting and emotions feeds into Renton’s character which caps the films beginning and ending.  It comes down to choice, which the monologues and prologue of the film places the choices of the characters as solely their and not really a by-product of life itself.  They choose to do the things they do, even if given everything to achieve, they choose to follow the path.

Trainspotting is really a one of a kind film.  A cult status film, one that every person in their life will see at one time or another and really is a part of pop culture itself.  I can’t count how many times I have seen that poster of the Choose Life monologue from the movie adorned on the walls of college students who just got it cause it was British and kitschy at the time.  When you strip the film down, the story isn’t the greatest, but the acting and portrayal of these drug addicted teens is a calling card to life.  Even with everything handed to them, it shows the affects of drugs and how their choices have a far reaching impact on those around them.  Even at the end of the movie, when Renton is clean and moving on to something else in life, he chooses to go back to it all.  He chose his life.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

9 Responses to Movie of the Day – Trainspotting

  1. H.E. ELLIS says:

    Loooove this movie!

    • Nick says:

      It really is hard not to love this movie. Even with the doping, the bleak outlook on life, it is still a compelling film about a young generation of people who have it all in front of them and just say “fuck it” to it all

      • H.E. ELLIS says:

        What I liked best was how they showed the one clean friend become dependent and then eventually be taken down by his addiction. That happens a lot to people who never did drugs as teens and who mistakenly think they can handle it in their twenties.

  2. I was late on this train (terrible pun intended–sorry), but I agree, this is a fantastic movie. Too many movies tend to glorify drug use, or go too far in the opposite direction. But I think Boyle does a great job of realistically portraying addiction while at the same time delivering an entertaining movie.


    • Nick says:

      I appreciate a pun, even if it is a bit obvious. I put this movie on the level with Requiem for a Dream in terms of the drug use portrayal. Honest but also difficult to watch people just throw everything away because of drugs.

  3. Pete says:

    A perfect film. Cast, soundtrack, script, visual style. Boyle and British cinema at their best. Great write-up.

    • Nick says:

      Thank you for the kind words. Going back and writing about movies I have seen ages ago really makes you appreciate the work and storytelling that Boyle puts into his movies.

  4. You know, I am ashamed to say I never saw this, lmao. I guess I’d better check it out. Looks good. 🙂

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