Talk about a weird ass film. Trainspotting is the story of a drug addict in Edinburgh trying to get out of the scene but constantly being pulled back in through a series of event. Heroin, the drug of choice, rules everyone’s lives. This is both a horrifying, tragic film while it is cartoonishly hilarious and represents that filmmaking style that inspired the likes of Guy Ritchie (Snatch), David Fincher (Fight Club), or even Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream).
Ewan McGregor plays Renton. Along with Spud, Sick Boy, Tommy, and Begbie, make up the main host of characters for this film. From squatting in a practically condemned apartment to cleaning up only to relapse, to selling drugs to some heavy characters, there is nothing this group doesn’t do. They are manic, crazy, dangerous, twisted individuals who seem to want more than the drug life, but simultaneously celebrate it as they wallow in the world they inhabit.
The cinematography is the thing that gets me. The scene of crawling in to the toilet. I loved the scene where Renton lowers into the floor, pulling the rug with him. The freeze-frame style intros, the narration–though sometimes thought to be a cheap story device–works perfectly with Renton and fits the film style in what we see.
A lot of people may have heard of Trainspotting, especially since Ewan McGregor became a star, but not that many people saw it back in the day; it only made 16 million in theaters. I never saw it then, I was 12, but as soon as I was old enough, I rented it. I recently watched it probably three times last year and will see it again. I like to think that this is a cult classic. There is a heavy fan base, but it is not all comedy. This is heroin and that isn’t pretty. Things get darker, tougher, stranger, and you really care for many of the people you meet. You hope the best, are shocked, and hurt when disaster befalls characters.
I can’t suggest this film enough if you’ve got the stomach for this type of film. It will change your mood after watching it. So be ready. If you’ve got the taste for this kind of movie, then it’s a can’t miss classic that you can see influenced films to come, like Fight Club, Requiem, Snatch, and many more. This film represented the late 90’s well, and it still holds strong some 16 years later.