[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B004VLKXG0][/pullquote] Trainspotting is the second feature film directed by future Oscar winner Danny Boyle. Following on from the success of Shallow Grave, he took the most charismatic member of that cast, Ewan McGregor, and turned him into the shaven-headed, heroin-addicted modern day thespian, Mark Renton. It is still seen as the film of a generation and perfectly encapsulates what the 1990s meant to a lot of people.
Based on a book by Irvine Walsh, Trainspotting tells the story of Renton (McGregor) a heroin addict who at various points tries to kick his habit. He is surrounded by his ˜mates’ Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Tommy (Kevin McKidd) who each have their own addictions and problems to deal with in the poorest parts of the City of Edinburgh.
The first thing you notice about Trainspotting is just how bleak and desolate Edinburgh is portrayed. Danny Boyle is clearly attempting to show the beautiful city from the point of view of a heroin addict, so things are grimy and lack colour or vibrancy. Everything is in a state of disrepair and atrophy, which mirrors the struggles of the main characters. This is one of the things that will stay with you after watching, just how grim their lives are and just how harrowing addiction can be, notably the scene with the baby at Mother Superiors’. There are plenty of ‘trippy’ scenes with characters disappearing into the floor and having horrible hallucinations.
That’s not to say that Trainspotting is tough-going throughout, in fact Boyle makes a point of giving all the cast some cracking lines of conversation. They’re witty, engaging and thoroughly entertaining. This marked the break-out film for Ewan McGregor and with good reason. Renton narrates the film like a thespian narrates Shakespearean audio books. His voice is enthusiastic, heart-breaking and always pragmatic. He’s charming and you can’t help but want to spend time with him as his life hits the highest highs and endures the lowest lows. Accompanied throughout by a masterpiece soundtrack crammed with classic 1980s and 90s songs.
Everything is turned up to the maximum and what you’re left with is a visceral, heart-pounding joyride through Edinburgh, sitting on the shoulders of the lowest people possible and loving every second.