Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trainspotting (1996)

TOP 100 FILMS: #77

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of... well appropriate age, I give you! The one, the only, Danny Boyle!!!! *insert thunderous applause here*.

Thirty years from now when we're listing the best directors of our era, the ones we were around to witness, Danny Boyle has, thus far, laid claim to one of those spots... and Trainspotting is his kickoff piece. Following the tale of four drug addicts (Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, and Kevin McKidd) alongside their super violent friend Begbie (Robert Carlyle), and their attempts to figure out life, and beat their heroin addiction.

While at times fun, Trainspotting is deceptively dark, dealing with everything you can imagine, including: infant death due to neglection, underage sex with a 14 year old (first screen appearance by Kelly Macdonald), overdose, robbery, and the dark untrust among addicts. Boyle's first big hit film is filled with social critique, painful subject matter, unlikable characters, and an underlying desire to watch them succeed.

The main character being Renton (McGregor), a long time addict, good friend, and social outcast trying to cope with his desire to not conform, his overbearing addiction, and last ditch effort to escape his personal issues. Along the way he begins a relationship with the 14 year old Diane (MacDonald) who decieves him into sleeping with her one night at a party, and the two eventually become (sickingly) close. Yet among all the films narrative, the central point, unevaded is that of fighting against society.

All of our characters are the opposite of what you'd expect, they fight against social norms, and seek out their own life. We see the good and bad decisions they make, and the events that ultimately lead to their downfall/uprise. Add on top of that Boyle's sixth sense for blending style and substance, and you get one of the most fascinating, and mentally challenging, films of the 90's. An extremely powerful example of all that filmmaking can be when at its finest... Not to mention the great opening that just sticks with you, and I had to put on my Greatest film speeches list.

Trainspotting may not be perfect, but it's filmmaking at its finest. A dark, and yet exciting, look at the world of Heroin addicts, and their personal struggles.

2 better thoughts:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

So I assume you're a fan of Boyle? I've never seen this actually. Probably should.

Univarn said...

I didn't care much for The Beach or A Life Less Ordinary, but Sunshine was an amazingly powerful visual film (even if the writing made some inexplicable moves), 28 Days Later... enough said. Slumdog Millionaire won over everyone last year, and Millions was a hidden gem from '07 too many people missed.

I think he's an amazingly versatile director with broad appeal, and talent, something that should be respected far more than it is.

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