Trainspotting

"Essential"

Trainspotting Review


It's the most heavily-hyped and anticipated indie film I have ever seen.

It's a foul and grotesque exercise in nausea, yet completely engrossing from the start.

It's the most experimental film to gain a large release in America since Slacker.

Its subject matter is something eschewed by almost everybody -- heroin addiction.

Its unique structure, built around metaphor and over-the-top imagery, will make the film inaccessible to most audiences, as if the thick Scottish accents that make most of the dialogue indecipherable don't already.

It's Trainspotting, and it's great.

Making an independent movie about drug addiction isn't the easiest thing in the world. Gus Van Sant tried it awhile back, in Drugstore Cowboy, with fair success. This time it's director Danny Boyle (who helmed last year's filmcritic.com #1 Film of the Year, Shallow Grave), with a few familiar faces from the aforementioned masterpiece (led by Grave's Ewan McGregor, as our narrator Renton) and a lot of Boyle's signature avant-garde direction.

The story is based on Irvine Welsh's cult novel of the same name, as Trainspottingtracks the downward -- and upward -- spirals of a group of heroin-addicted friends in Scotland. The title comes from a popular pastime in Britain, where people apparently sit by the tracks and record every possible detail of the passing trains -- sometimes for days at a time. The futility of this task is yet another metaphor in a metaphor-bloated picture, where nothing on the screen is exactly what it seems.

The film truly defies description, and even a full 12 months of hype couldn't adequately prepare me for what I eventually saw. Suffice it to say that this horribly nasty and raw exposé of how unglamorous the junkie life really is manages to overpower anything else I've seen on film in a long while. Beyond that, you'll just have to see for yourself. But be prepared to be shocked, disgusted, and at the same time, enthralled.

I could talk about the bothersome aspects of Trainspotting: an annoying techno soundtrack, a dragging middle section, and rapid-fire, heavily-accented dialogue that went in my ears and never quite reached my brain. Or I could talk about how, after leaving the theater, I wanted to immediately see the film again. But, as Trainspotting's Renton puts it, why would I want to do a thing like that?

The director's cut DVD comprises two discs, including a making-of documentary, retrospective, interviews, and a multi-angle feature. Deleted scenes and a feature length commentary round up the excellent extras on an excellent package.

This scene, with McGregor's Renton crawling out of a toilet, is actually only the second most disgusting scene in the film.



Trainspotting

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th July 1996

Box Office Worldwide: $16.6M

Budget: $4M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Channel Four Films, Noel Gay Motion Picture Company, Figment Films, Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 67 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 8.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Renton, as Spud, as Sick Boy, as Begbie, as Diane, as Tommy, as Swanney, as Mr. Renton, Eileen Nicholas as Mrs. Renton, as Allison, Pauline Lynch as Lizzy, as Gail, as Gavin/US Tourist, as Mikey Forrester

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.