Release Date: February 23, 1996
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald.
Tag Lines: “Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future. But why would anyone want to do a thing like that?”
“Never let your friends tie you to the tracks.”
Relevance: Thanks to a recommendation from a co-worker, I saw the movie ‘Shallow Grave’ in 1995. I loved the movie, but more importantly it introduced me to both Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor. So when I saw the trailer to ‘Trainspotting,’ I knew that it was a film that I would probably enjoy. The word “enjoy” didn’t even come close.
Due to its limited theatrical release in the United States in 1996, I wasn’t able to see the film when it played in theaters. I had to wait until it was released as a rental some time later that year. It was definitely worth the wait. I watched the film alone as my wife at the time was not in the least interested and was immediately sucked into this dark comedy about heroin. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Fast paced, brutal, terrifying and at times extremely funny, ‘Trainspotting’ was a film I knew I would have to watch over and over again.
And that is exactly what I did. After renting it a few times, I eventually purchased the VHS as soon as I could. The film ironically was like a drug to me. It gave me such a rush as I watched it and when it was over, I wanted more. This, however, was not a movie I “pushed” (pun intended) on anyone else. Usually when I really, really love a movie, I make sure to tell everyone I know about it and make them watch it. However, due to its somewhat graphic themes and depictions of life, I opted not to do so with ‘Trainspotting.’ I just couldn’t see my mom watching some of those scenes and enjoying it as much as I did. So I kept my love for the movie more on the down low and shared only with other cinephiles.
‘Trainspotting’ was a film that I have kept in my movie collection and one that I hold in very high esteem. It’s a brave, gut-wrenching, thought provoking film that even if not loved by everyone, leaves a lasting memory. More so, it expanded my admiration for both its director Danny Boyle and its star Ewan McGregor, who has become one of my favorite actors of all time.
Today’s Thoughts: “One thousand years from now there will be no guys and no girls, just wankers. Sounds great to me.”
‘Trainspotting’ is a movie I probably have not seen in its entirety for at least twenty years. I am a fan of director Danny Boyle, excluding the awful ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ of course, and was eager to revisit this, in my opinion, classic film today. Thankfully, I was alone when I watched it. Knowing my husband the way that I do, I am sure he would loathe this film. Art is subjective.
The cast, including Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle and Kelly Macdonald are absolutely brilliant, but for me the film is all about Ewan McGregor. Long before his stint as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and at a very young age might add, Mr. McGregor gives a bold and powerful performance. He carries the weight of the film confidently and when on the screen, which is the bulk of the movie, you just can’t seem to take your eyes off of him. He is commanding and magnetizing and 100% committed to his character.
If Ewan McGregor stars in a movie, chances are you are going to see a penis. Most likely his penis. ‘Trainspotting’ is no exception and Mr. McGregor’s “lightsaber” can be seen in all its uncut glory a couple times in the film. He is not the only one to bare all in this film though as Mr. Bremner also allows the camera to photograph his penis. ‘Trainspotting’ marks the eleventh time on my list of most influential movies to show a penis (or two). You can check out the ten other “penis” films here: 144. Fargo, 183. Terminator 2: Judgement Day, 199. Six Degrees of Separation, 209. The Fisher King, 295. Being John Malkovich, 296. Wildcats, 332. The Crying Game, 335. Born on the Fourth of July, 343. Sideways and 357. Amadeus
‘Trainspotting’ is definitely not for the faint of heart as it depicts a pretty graphic world of heroin use, but if you can handle it, indulge. It is worth it. Despite its dark premise, it is a fun, energetic and mesmerizing work of art. It comes very highly recommended. Even though I own the sequel, ‘T2 Trainspotting,’ I actually have yet to watch it. Today might be the perfect day for a double feature.
Awards: Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, John Hodge (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Adapted, John Hodge (winner), BAFTA Award for Best British Film (nomination), Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, John Hodge (nomination).
Ways to Watch: Amazon Prime, iTunes, DVD Availability.