'Trainspotting' with its exhilarating approach to desperation, addiction and death, was one of the most vital British movies of the 1990s.
Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), a young man with few prospects and fewer ambitions, lives in economically depressed Edinburgh. Like most of his friends, Renton is a heroin addict who loves the drug's blissful nothingness; financing his habit also provides excitement and challenges that his life otherwise lacks. Renton's two best friends are also junkies: Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), a snappy dresser obsessed with James Bond, and Spud (Ewan Bremner), a guileless nerd who suggests Pee Wee Herman's debauched cousin. Renton and his pals also hang out with Begbie (Robert Carlyle), a borderline psychotic who loathes junkies even though he drinks like a fish.
The plot itself is profoundly bleak but with kinetic style and relentless energy Boyle finds sympathy for Irvine Welsh's hopeless, drug-hungry scamsters. Initial reactions to the film weren't favourable and the film was criticised for glamorising smack - which it doesn't. Pivotal to 'Trainspotting''s success is its use of music to echo and emphasise these characters' trajectories.
Unlike previous films dealing with heroin culture Danny Boyle's film has a comic strain so potent it deserves a health warning all its own.
BBFC Certified 18 - Contains very strong language, strong sex and violence and hard drug use
✮✮✮✮✮ "This movie was the first, maybe the only successful 90s British attempt at answering films like Goodfellas or Pulp Fiction" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian