“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?!”
The extraordinary UK film pop culture relevance of ‘Trainspotting’ (1996) in independent British cinema is almost unmatched even today in 2017. Many areas of discussion surrounding the film and it’s reputation are somewhat superficial to do with 90s Cool Britannia fashion, music, cool looking cinematography. It is actually a very socially conscious film about the story of one disillusioned young mans battle with heroine addiction to escape his dead end life in Scotland as he tries to figure his life out.
Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) is socially popular, but jobless and a heroin addict. He tries to find his way out of many bad situations he has created himself through poor judgement or his friends behaviour. After hitting rock bottom he finally grows into a working independent creating a life away from his former mess. However old habits die hard as his social circle never really disappear.
Outside the narrative and plot the style of the film is 90s Cool Hipster Britannia at it’s best. The music ranges from Iggy Pop to House and Indie. The use of Born Slippy NUXX is iconic, you feel all the euphoria of the climax watching our beloved lead male Mark Renton do his last dirty deed to walk into an unknown but better future both visually on screen and through music. The fashion is of it’s exact 1996 era. However funnily enough due to nature of everything old being new again in fashion cycle re-watching Renton and his friends cause chaos around Edinburgh, you would easily mistake them for guys at festivals in east London in 2017. The cinematography is fast, choppy and when needed specifically during Renton’s withdrawal hallucinations even frightening. All these things add to the film and it’s core message of portraying 90s drug in all it’s good and bad reality. It’s a rare STYLE and SUBSTANCE film.
Danny Boyle’s British classic Trainspotting (1996) is arguably his peak as a film director. It stays well known and respected far past its original release which is the sign of great cinema. It’s a staple of any British film obsessives and an honest sincere depiction of life as a young UK male who is troubled and coming to terms with going into adulthood and social and political change happening around him.
Von Von Lamunu