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Choose Life: A Review of Trainspotting

Andrew Cathey, Writer

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Described as “brazen, hilarious, disgusting, audacious, altogether fresh,” Trainspotting rose to both critical acclaim and cult status after its release in 1996 with a score of 8.2 on IMDb and certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at 90%. And with Trainspotting 2 being released in March, a look back at this cinematic masterpiece was necessary.

Trainspotting focuses on Renton (Ewan McGregor), a young man heavily involved in the Edinburgh drug scene during the late 80’s and early 90’s, who tries to escape and takes steps to getting clean. Renton is held back by the allure of heroin and his friends Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Tommy (Kevin McKidd), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle). The film doesn’t pull any punches, offering a solid mix of dark comedy and drama. Every character has to deal with the consequences of his actions, and seeing characters have to actually pay for their actions, instead of having the protagonists get off scot-free, was extremely refreshing. Cheli Cobb, a senior, said, “ I like how it gave an insight and brutal representation of heroin addiction.”

Trainspotting is a masterstroke of film. The film has this beautiful yet grimy feel to it. This can best be shown with some of the more surreal scenes like the worst toilet in Scotland scene and the junkie’s limbo scene. The soundtrack consists of mostly britpop and punk rock, and it never feels distracting. Every track perfectly blends with what is being portrayed on screen. Ewan McGregor was absolutely perfect for this role. From the opening monologue to the end credits, McGregor turns in absolutely mesmerizing performance that captures the crude and bitter character of Mark Renton. 

Trainspotting captures the feeling of disenfranchisement that was the albatross around the 90’s neck. Trainspotting is an essential viewing experience for any fan of film, both young and old.

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The student news site of Bob Jones High School
Choose Life: A Review of Trainspotting