#154: Trainspotting (1996)

When and how did I watch this?

January 19th, 2016, on Amazon Prime.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

English film. I remember seeing some commercials when I was a teenager, and didn’t really find it appealing (though it revealed absolutely nothing), but here I am.

What do I know about it now?

It’s about heroin and a bunch of sluggards aimlessly wandering about waiting for the next high. Mark (McGregor) is borderline nuts, but his comrades are worse off.  It’s both hilarious and depressing to watch these guys interact with their world, making something of nothing, and then melting it down to nothing again. It would be easy to glamourize something like this, but the film was quite firm in its negative portrayal of the addiction. I appreciated the use of magic realism and augmented/distorted perspectives to make the viewer sort of uneasy along with Mark. The cinematography was flawless — constant use of closeups and various unusual angles to avoid turning this thing into a documentary. The soundtrack was incredible, and occasionally ironic. Christians might find much of the content unseemly, but nothing about it was “offensive”. I was truly impressed.

What are some themes in the film?

Drugs/addiction, loyalty, society, sex

Did this affect me personally?

Yes. As any parent would find alarming, the baby situation really shook me up. It’s striking, poignant, and an effective deterrent for those who might be considering fooling around with drugs.

Why is this ranked #154?

It’s easy to throw an agenda in a film and let that dominate the story, not taking care of the way it’s shot and how scenes develop. I think viewers recognize the artistic aspect as well as the complicated subject matter in the film and, like myself, appreciate it. I believe the soundtrack did well, and that might bolster someone’s opinion of the film.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She couldn’t bear to watch it because of the baby thing.

Would I watch it again?

It would be challenging to give it another spin. At least it has a “happy” ending, which would help me know that everything turns out alright, sorta.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

I think so. Once again, people sensitive to vulgarity, drug use and sexual content might be uncomfortable, but it’s unquestionably worth the view.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Certainly. It’s a masterpiece, and there are no other films like it that I’ve seen. A pleasant surprise.

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