“Trainspotting” Review ✦✦✦✦✦

18 January, 2017

Year of Release: 1996
Director: Danny Boyle
Screenwriter: John Hodge
Director of Photography: Brian Tufano
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle

Synopsis: A heroin addict who spends his days socialising with a group of criminals decides to clean up his act once and for all. Moving to London to escape from the temptations of the Edinburgh drug scene, the addict is swiftly located by his friends who will do anything to fuel his debilitating habit.

Trainspotting Review:

A movie so self-deprecatingly Scottish that it feels experimental in sheer brashness alone, “Trainspotting” sees Danny Boyle at his youngest and most rebellious as he translates a foul-mouthed Irvine Welsh story into a life-affirming drama. Adapting the source material’s thick dialect isn’t easy but John Hodge’s screenplay works wonders, finding a common theme and a level head before the movie is birthed head-first, gasping for air through the infectious rhythm of Iggy Pop, Primal Scream, and Underworld.

“Trainspotting” is a movie with an erratic heartbeat and it lub-dubs its way through the ins and outs of the junkie lifestyle with an alarming sense of immediacy. This is, after all, a story that could easily end at any moment and Danny Boyle ensures that every pain and pleasure on the addict spectrum is thoroughly mapped out, like an author gathering all evidence from his chosen test subject.

Presented as the “Goodfellas” of drug stories, “Trainspotting” documents a destructive reality while peering through the eyes of a disillusioned narrator. Boyle’s Henry Hill is a junkie through-and-through, but one with a noticeable amount of self-awareness as he wades his way through a destructive tapestry of mayhem, becoming our eyes and ears as his distorted and rather scattered existence informs a distinctive milieu, forever shifting from a squalid yet blissful fantasy to a hangover still reeling from previous drug trips.

Captured at his skinniest and most vivacious, Ewan McGregor is the Hamlet of his own drug trip, reliving his experiences with an equal amount of compassion and disdain for the low-lives he’s surrounded by. His friends, while mostly dim-witted and disposable, add to the film’s dark sense of humour as Renton seeks solace in his own apathy while always looking for the ideal means of escape. In “Trainspotting,” choosing life is ultimately a selfish act but the film suggests that in the end it can never be more selfish than all-consuming reality of total addiction.


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