Director Danny Boyle's internationally successful adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel about a group of young Edinburgh heroin addicts. Ewan McGregor stars as Mark Renton, the most reflective member of a group that also includes the compulsive womaniser, Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), and the hapless Spud (Ewen Bremner). Renton, Spud and Sick Boy's issues with drugs alternatively irritate and amuse their friend, Begbie (Robert Carlyle), a periodic psychopath whose outbursts of violence are one of the many factors that convince Renton to leave for London in the hope of starting a new life. Renton enjoys some success remoulding himself as an estate agent in the English capital, but it isn't long before his Edinburgh friends catch up with him. Begbie and co need the money Renton has saved from his job to finance the drug deal that could make them all rich...
The film that effectively launched the star careers of Robert Carlyle, Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller is a hard, barbed picaresque, culled from the bestseller
by Irvine Welsh and thrown down against the heroin hinterlands of Edinburgh. Directed with abandon by Danny Boyle, Trainspotting
conspires to be at once a hip youth flick and a grim cautionary fable. Released on an unsuspecting public in 1996, the picture struck a chord with audiences worldwide and became adopted as an instant symbol of a booming British rave culture (an irony, given the characters' main drug of choice is heroin not ecstasy).
McGregor, Lee Miller and Ewen Bremner play a slouching trio of Scottish junkies; Carlyle their narcotic-eschewing but hard-drinking and generally psychotic mate Begbie. In Boyle's hands, their lives unfold in a rush of euphoric highs, blow-out overdoses and agonising withdrawals (all cued to a vogueish pop soundtrack). Throughout it all, John Hodge's screenplay strikes a delicate balance between acknowledging the inherent pleasures of drug use and spotlighting its eventual consequences. In Trainspotting's world view, it all comes down to a question of choices--between the dangerous Day-Glo highs of the addict and the grey, grinding consumerism of the everyday Joe. "Choose life", quips the film's narrator (McGregor) in a monologue that was to become a mantra. "Choose a job, choose a starter home... But why would anyone want to do a thing like that?" Ultimately, Trainspotting's wised-up, dead-beat inhabitants reject mainstream society in favour of a headlong rush to destruction. It makes for an exhilarating, energised and frequently terrifying trip that blazes with more energy and passion than a thousand more ostensibly life-embracing movies. --Xan Brooks
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.