Thursday, May 7, 2009

Trainspotting (1996)

No matter how many times I see Trainspotting, it remains a favorite. The social commentary on consumerism, the voice-over narration, the music and the raw energy combine for a terrific result. The first time I saw it, it was opening night in Seattle. I'd experienced a sensory-enriched ride. My friend was horrified; she insisted the movie glamorized drug abuse. I gave it a great deal of thought; ultimately, I disagreed. At the start, sure, the movie entices with the glow of a good-looking,The crew fashionable group of friends listening to excellent music, having fun as they shoot heroin and mind-alter in a not-so-dirty drug house (made to look more trendy than horrifying). Then, the movie turns and, in gross and gritty detail, outlines the dark side. This flip side depicts how screwed up their lives become when they're living to score--stealing, living in dire surroundings, oblivious to anything but getting the next fix, even if it involves reusing slow-release suppositories.

Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) is extremely likeable as the fuck-up protagonist. He's a hardcore junkie. He commits reprehensible acts (not above keeping a secret that leads to the demise of one of his best friends), yet you hope he'll turn himself around. Early on, he indicates he was meant for more; he gives kicking a few goes and you see the struggle involved. Sick Boy (Johnny Lee Miller) is the Casanova. He is especially fond of James Bond pop culture. You can't forget Spud (Ewen Bremner), the goofy, soft-hearted lemming. If you haven't seen this movie, it's worth it for Spud's cringe-inducing breakfast incident scene. Not all the men in the posse are junkies. Begbie (Robert Carlyle) is addicted to violence. Never touches the heroin, but he's predictable in his rage (and easily the hardest to understand through the strong Scottish accent). Then, there's Tommy (Kevin McKidd)--cute, sporty, agreeable. They boys kick junk, get back on, kick, stumble and try kicking again. Renton's pegs it when he says, No matter how much you thieve, you will always have to rob more. Based on the Irvine Welsh novel.

Director: Danny Boyle

Country: Scotland

Genre: Drama

Run time:  94 minutes

Scale: 4.5

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