• Kieran Burt

Trainspotting (1996) Review


Trainspotting, starring Ewan McGregor, follows Mark Renton, a heroin addict living in Edinburgh trying to give up his addiction.


To do this, he moves to London, but his friends drag him back into the life he is trying to escape. It is comedically dark in places, and in others it is very sad.


Danny Boyle directs the stellar film, based on the book of the same name, giving the author Irvine Welsh a cameo early on. The opening to the movie is excellent, introducing the characters to the audience via freeze frames over the top of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life. This is a memorable way to introduce the gang, and it shows the destructive lives they lead.


There are several laugh-out-loud moments in this film, and they mostly come from Ewen Bremner’s character Spud. The worst interview ever and the incident he has after the night out are both hilarious. While this film isn’t a comedy, it knows when and how to be funny with the material that it is dealing with. It doesn’t jar with the dark and sad scenes that are also present throughout.

The cast members all give an amazing performance. Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, Kevin McKidd as Tommy and Robert Carlyle as Begbie are all phenomenal. Sick Boy is evil and conniving, Tommy is a nerd who gets caught up in a horrible situation and Begbie is a man with serious anger management issues. They each have clear roles and show Renton why he needs to get out.


The message of Trainspotting holds up extremely well, and is still relevant today. It shows how drugs, specifically heroin, can destroy everything a person loves. The film conveys this through dark scenes throughout. Renton sums this all up in his 'choose life' speech, which is a quote which will stay with audiences long after the credits roll. It is clear why Trainspotting is a classic piece of cinema, with stand out performances, music and the message.


8/10