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Trainspotting Review

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by Phil Hinton Jun 1, 2003

  • Movies review


    Trainspotting Review
    Hard hitting, Controversial, Darkly funny and highly acclaimed, Trainspotting is all these things and more. Since its release in 1996 the film has remained controversial in its graphic and haunting portrayal of drug abuse and addiction, but more importantly it has remained true to its roots and the addicts thought process. The film was never solely about drugs, and those who slated and condemned the movie on its release probably never saw it, or understood it.
    The story is about a group of friends and their struggle against heroin addiction, and the society they live in. Renton (Ewan McGregor) narrates the tale of Sickboy (Johnny Lee Miller), Begbie (Robert Carlisle), Spud (Ewan Bremner) and Tommy (Kevin McKidd) who all live in the suburbs of Edinburgh, and each with their own problems and demons. The film could have been an art house picture and down beat in its approach, but Director Danny Boyle has crafted a pure piece of cinema art, that is vibrant and stylised in the extreme. It is a hugely funny and haunting tale, told by people we all know in our lives, the psycho Begbie whose kick in life is beating people to a pulp but is still a mate, Sickboy, always with the next get rich scheme and someone who you could never trust and who could give up the smack tomorrow if he felt like it. Spud, the naïve loser who just goes with the flow and who will amount to nothing, and finally Renton, who is constantly thinking about life and actually might be capable of living it.
    The film truly is a work of art, with images and scenes which stay with you long after the event, painting a picture you can't get out of your head. The use of music is also highly prominent in the telling of the tale, moving us through the time frame with its subtle changes in pace and style. Overall the effects on the mind of the viewer through bright colours, amazing highs and utterly depressing lows, follow the mind of the addict. It might get utterly repulsive and depressing, but you just can't help staying with it and watching, waiting for that next high. A modern masterpiece? Quiet simply Yes! Choose life....