Choose Life – Trainspotting (1996)

One of a kind.  So this is about a group of Scottish friends, some of which shoot heroin.  When Renton (Ewan McGregor) decides to kick the habit, it shakes up the dynamic of the group in more ways than one.  Now this has been a favorite of mine for quite some time.  It’s Danny Boyle’s sophomore film if you don’t count made-for-TV movies, and it showcases how immensely talented he is.  It’s a cult classic, and it’s not soon to be forgotten.  It’s been over two decades now, and upon an overdue revisit, I have to say that it has stood the test of time famously.

2Also, it features a young, YOUNG McGregor.

Now if this is your first time watching this for some reason, the one thing that you have to know going into this is that subtitles are absolutely, positively 100% mandatory for your initial viewing.  I personally don’t need them anymore because I’ve seen this about a dozen times throughout the years, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Scottish dialects are as thick as can be, and you will only catch 30 – 40 percent of the spoken dialogue if you decide to go without.  Just do yourself a favor and smash that option on your DVD/Blu-ray player when you insert the disc, because otherwise, you will fail at understanding Begbie’s foul mouth.  Everything about this movie works together.  The direction is spectacular, and Danny Boyle isn’t afraid to get weird (i.e. the toilet scene, the baby scene).  The acting is terrific, and because of that, you are always able to place yourself in the junkie mindset.  The soundtrack is stellar, and it is absolutely one of my all time favorites as it stands on its own merits.  In addition to that, the story is also well told, and while it does show you the horrific lows of heroin usage, it also shows you the highs as well.  It makes its point in that if there weren’t any positives to heroin usage, these men wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

1The worst toilet in Scotland.

There’s not a ton I can say about Trainspotting that hasn’t been said before me, as it is adored by both fans and critics alike.  The cinematography is outstanding, and it is funny as can be when it isn’t showcasing the horrors of drug abuse.  It moves super fast, and at a brief 94 minutes, it is over before you know it.  I personally love this movie, and while it may not be for everybody, it is perfect for its intended audience.

Trainspotting (1996) *****

– Critic for Hire


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