'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 ('Yesterday') 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