Saturday, March 9, 2013


Running Time: 94 minutes
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Written By: John Hodge, from novel by Irvine Welsh
Main Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kevin McKidd
Click here to view the trailer


With speculation that I won't enjoy the second "Help From Overseas" film, I've decided to hold onto it for a few days. Also, with the purchase of a new Blu-Ray player last night, my capabilities to stream Netflix through my television were restored and what better way to christen the new device than by watching Ewan McGregor crawl inside a toilet.

The film, in the same vein (no pun intended) as "Requiem for a Dream", shows us the lives of teens/twenty-somethings who are addicted to drugs, specifically heroine. The film starts out with Renton (McGregor) and pals running from the police and then we flashback, right before he's caught. Renton is your typical druggie, a boy who promises rehabilitation, tries it for a day or two and then gets right back on the stuff. He has a group of pals: Sick Boy (Miller), Spud (Bremner), Tommy (McKidd), who is clean and health conscience and Begbie (Carlyle), who is also clean, but very psychotic, picking fights with anyone and everyone. The film basically shows us the life of Renton and company, through a series of anecdotes: Renton getting involved with a 14-year-old girl (Kelly Macdonald), Renton forced to use the worst restroom in Scotland, Renton getting Tommy on the junk, Renton heisting a homemade sex tape from Tommy, which gets Tommy in trouble with his girlfriend, etc. At about the halfway mark, we catch up to Renton where we first saw him, getting chased down by the police and found out that, indeed he does get caught, along with Spud. Spud goes to jail, but as long as he commits himself to rehabilitation, Renton is released. His parents then take the tough love approach, installing a dead bolt on his bedroom door, lock it from the outside and force him to get clean. With visions of dead babies and Spud in shackles, Renton goes through hell, but comes out to tell about it on the other side and that's not even the end!

For me, "Trainspotting" has always been that movie that I've loved but never really associated with or formed a more solid opinion about. I'd seen "Trainspotting" several times before this morning, with opinions raging from "like very much" to "love", yet I don't even own it on DVD - which, for an avid DVD collector, is a bit odd. It's like that neighbor that you really like and when he sees you out you always talk to him and exchange pleasantries and even behind his back, you tell other neighbors what a great guy he is, yet you never invite him over to see your place, share a piece of pie & coffee and get to know each other a little better. That's what "Trainspotting" is for me: a nice, acquainted neighbor. Today, though, I finally had that pie & coffee and decided that "Trainspotting", despite being aimed at a more general audience (I think) is a marvelous film. Despite not really being a linear story, "Trainspotting" (as I outlined in my synopsis) uses a collection of anecdotes, which are easily watchable and range from very funny to very sad to very disgusting, all emotions that every audience member can easily tap into, to introduce us to the characters and lure us into the story - the basic story being, group of guys on drugs.


The film also has a little bit of an "escaping the old life" story wound in it, a story that I've always been a sucker for (see "Carlito's Way"), as Renton, at about the halfway mark DOES get himself cleaned up, moves to London, gets a job and finds a life. I felt sorry for the character when he was dragged back into that life and was even more pleased at the end, when it looks like he's headed back in the right direction.

I'm not going to keep on about it. It's a great movie, one that most people should be able to enjoy. It feeds upon basic audience reactions, proving that the filmmaker's know how to make a good movie. When discussing Danny Boyle, I can say that I've been turned off by him just as much as I've been turned on (cinematically speaking). While "Trainspotting" and "28 Days Later" are both successes in my book and movies that I thoroughly enjoy, "The Beach" and "Slumdog Millionaire" are movies that I really disliked. Still though, "Trainspotting" is a movie good enough to at least get him a footnote in my "great book of great director's" (that great, imaginary work). Avid movie fans need to keep their eyes peeled here for references to "A Clockwork Orange" and "Taxi Driver" (both at the Volcano nightclub) and Beatles fans will also find a few homages as well.

RATING: 9/10  Can't go the whole hog on this one, simply because I've seen better even during this season. But it was really good and I needed that.


March 9, 2013  12:15pm


  1. First thing.. please refute the rather offensive 'did-you-know that..' oft repeated 'fact' that in America Trainspotting is released with Subtitles as a foreign language film.*
    I mean, I live only about 120 miles from Glasgow an find the dialect/accent tricky.. but it's not that bad.(And I don't mean just the bit in the nightclub where the music is so lound there ARE subtitles..)
    Glad you enjoyed, and congratulations of a Blu-ray. (Hey, you should have christened it with the Nicholas Ray collection!)
    Yes, I strongly dislike 'Slumdog', and am decidedly cool towards the beach. ('cool' used here as anyone over 40 uses it, as a negative rather than posative thing)
    I don't remember the 'Taxi driver' reference at the night club... If I remember (it's a few years since I watched it), the nightclub has 'Clockwork' themed decor?)

    1. I actually intended to mention the accents and how, at times, they were nearly impossible to understand. I just kind of sat back and in the end, I think I got the gist of everything.


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