Trainspotting, a movie review

A movie review: By Lee Sonogan

(1996) 1h34min/Drama, Black comedy


With a budget of 1.5 million, this movie made 72 million at the box office. One epic movie is like other English movies such as Snatch, Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels. Renton played by Ewan McGregor, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. The whole film was shot in just seven and a half weeks.

Ewan McGregor read books about crack and heroin to prepare for the role. He also went to Glasgow and met people from the Calton Athletic Recovery Group, an organisation of recovering heroin addicts. He was taught how to cook up heroin with a spoon using glucose powder. McGregor considered injecting heroin to better understand the character but eventually decided against it. To play the skinny heroin-addicted Renton, Ewan McGregor was placed on a simple diet consisting of no alcohol or dairy products in order to lose weight. It only took him two months to reach Renton’s desired size.

This movie was directed by Danny Boyle and written by Irvine Welsh and John Hodge. Before he took up screenwriting,  John Hodge was a doctor and had to frequently deal with heroin addicts. Some of his experiences have been worked into the script. One such example is the junkies stealing a television set from an old folk’s home. Danny Boyle used creative methods while directing, necessitated by the film’s low budget. For example, in the scene where Renton shoots a dog with a BB gun and it then goes crazy and attacks its owner, Boyle got the dog to freak out simply by positioning himself just outside of camera range and screaming at it.

Overall, this movie was ranked number 10 on the British Film Institute’s all-time best British films. Even being the biggest grossing British film of 1996. Ewan McGregor is very impressive in this movie, early on in his career. The other actors are good at acting also. The film is shot in an intense way as the group of friends get into all kinds of different things. The story is sad a bit, but the whole movie till the end is just outstanding. I recommend this movie to anyone interested in a drug drama/comedy movie shown in an original way.


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