Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.
The film follows the lives of a group of drug attics in Scotland in the late 1980's but is constructed less as a conventional narrative and more as a series of vignettes connected by characters and set to the film's dazzling soundtrack (the fact that I mention the scenes being 'set' to the soundtrack is proof of its importance in this particular film). Almost every scene is as powerful as the next, with three montages in particular being possibly the definitive examples of how to do a memorable cinematic montage.
Pop culture has been kind to "Trainspotting", remembering it as a unique and great film, especially in Britain. I certainly do not disagree with this consensus, but I feel the film has been hurt by familiarity, with even television series like "Family Guy" parodying the film's well-known scenes (and badly). This doesn't mean that the film's popularity is being hurt, but that it doesn't feel as fresh and original to people now as it did back in 1996. This is hardly the thing the film's reputation suffers most from however, with the significantly large number of people who claim the film supports and promotes drug use. I have to ask, and forgive my rudeness, how stupid can you possibly be? No, drug addicts in this film are not vilified, but they are consistently shown in a brutally realistic and horrifically tragic context, and just because the film doesn't go out of its way to emotionally manipulate you into completely hating its characters doesn't mean that it promotes drug use, it means that it's a knowing film careful enough not to become a sappy, melodramatic Hollywood product.
The acting is phenomenal, the music is terrific, the film is a pitch-perfect example of energizing editing and brilliant use of montage, and its script is one of the best ever written, alternately hilarious, horrifying, tragic, and benefiting from a rare level of depth and resonance. A British classic is what Trainspotting is recognized as, and a British classic is what it is.
- Mar 12, 2008