Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Kelly MacDonald, Ewan Bremner, Kevin McKidd
Running time: 94mins
Trainspotting follows the lives, and ups and downs, of a group of Scottish friends, Mark Renton, Sick Boy and Spud, all of whom are drug addicts. Attempts to get clean, go straight, get a life all lead back to the same place, back on drugs. Alongside the addicts is Francis Begbie, the most unhinged, unstable and volatile of the lot. He isn’t an addict though, his drug is violence and he never tries to kick his habit but remains under its influence throughout.
From the start you are immediately thrown into the hectic, chaotic lifestyle of these young guys. Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life pounds out of the speakers, giving impetus to the action on the screen and all the while we have Mark Renton’s narration, giving one of the most iconic and memorable opening sequences in modern cinema:
The film follows and is mostly narrated by Renton, revolving around him and his troubles and take on life as he tries to kick his habit and better himself. Unfortunately however well he is doing in getting rid of the drugs his friends always catch up with him and drag him back down.
There is an energy attached to this film that hasn’t faded over the 20 years since its arrival. It still hits it’s marks, doesn’t feel dated apart from seeing some of the actors looking quite young and there are a good list of them that are in this: Ewan McGregor , Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Ewan Bremner and Kelly Macdonald. All gone on to star in some pretty big films or Tv series. It also put Danny Boyle firmly on the map (although I am also a big fan of his first feature film – Shallow Grave, also starring Ewan McGregor). Boyle does a great job in controlling the ensemble cast, making them feel integral to the whole story, intertwining their paths repeatedly and also not shying away from hard scenes or skipping over some of the tougher topics.
To top it all off there is an absolutely classic soundtrack that punctuates the film. With a wide variety of styles it covers a lot of ground but also feels completely attached to this film now. Lust for Life, Born Slippy and Perfect Day will forever, for me, be linked to this film.
With the unveiling of the trailer for T2 recently it was great to revisit this film, to reacquaint myself with the characters and the story and dip once again into the seedy underworld of Edinburgh and this drug scene. Trainspotting is just one of those must see films.
#Film4FilmNite Rating: ★★★★☆