Monday, October 11, 2010

Trainspotting [1996]

Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremer, Johnny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kevin McKidd, Kelly Macdonald
Genre:
Drama/Comedy
Rating: Adult (explicit drug use, strong sexual content)
Comment: "A dark comedy-drama that doesn't hold back on so many levels ..."

Widely credited as actor Ewan McGregor's breakout role, Trainspotting should really be notable for being a spectacular film in its own right. The horrific take on the subject matter might be off-putting for a lot of people, but if there's ever a more apt anti-drug movie, Trainspotting would be it.

The story takes place in Scotland, some time in late 80's involving a group of heroin addicts. Narrated by the main character, Renton, who is basically sick of the drug scene attempts to clean up his act and move on with his life. But his past is hard to shake off and he is often tempted into relapse.

From the beginning, the film keeps you at the state of discomfort and holds nothing back to keep you there. The strong visuals and explicit content does most of the job, a good example would be the toilet scene, scenes involving intravenous drug use, and as to not spoil it for those who haven't seen the film, just take my word for it that it doesn't stop there. But don't get me wrong, there's nothing more satisfying than a really engaging movie.

Another thing that I like is the anarchy subtext. Drug addicts in the movie - if only they are not so dependent and messed up all the time - have one admirable trait, their non-conformist ways of looking at things. Being a student of individualist anarchism myself, it only make sense to me that there should be more than one way to live your life. The conventional belief, well said by Renton himself, goes like this;
"Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television... Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons..."
Really makes you think, huh? I had long believed that 99% of the people in this world have an extremely narrow-sighted view on what life is all about. Truth is, there is no one definitive answer.

I guess what I am really trying to say here, is that you should not dismiss Trainspotting as a "just a drug movie". After all, it didn't end up at number ten of BFI's Top 100 British Films of All Time for being anything less than impressive.

Points Calculation

The Good [+100]
- Originality
- No-holds-barred
- Strong visuals
- Explicit content
- Deep, engaging themes

The Bad [-0]
- (None)

100 - 0 = 100 points

1 comment:

Az said...

To me, if you want to know if a movie is good or not good, just think what effect the movie has on you. Well, after I watched Trainspotting, I felt depressed. And that night, I had a nightmare about needles. So yeah, this movie is THAT good.

Requiem for a dream also did that to me. =P

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