Choose Your Future, Choose Life: Trainspotting (1996)

Danny Boyle is one of my favorite directors, hands down.  I thoroughly enjoyed 28 Days Later...and find his other works to be equally impressive.  However, I had for some time failed to watch his early film Trainspotting.  This has changed and Trainspotting has only increased my admiration for the British filmmaker.  An early film made in an era of rebellion, Trainspotting is glorious in its degradation.  It  The Sex Pistols revisited, in a culture less malleable and certainly more fucked up.  It really has no American equivalent, because it is certainly too funny to parallel Requiem for a Dream, but certainly serious enough not to be Clerks.  Trainspotting is its own self-righteous, self-loathing and self-effacing multi-character study that will make viewers question their own moralistic understanding of drug culture.  Danny Boyle is like Guy Ritchie, but with more soul.

Trainspotting follows the exploits and misdirection of  a group of Scottish heroin addicts awkwardly led by Renton (Ewan McGregor).  The film's narrative seems illogical, irrational and unconnected which helps the films feel, after all it is about drug addicts.  What a viewer could draw from the narrative is that Renton is attempting to get clean, while his cohorts continue to push their drug habit upon him.  After an expertly crafted withdrawal scene, it appears as though Renton is freed from the clutches of his addiction.  However, word comes to Renton and his friends that there is a huge drug score that needs to be pushed into London and his buddies are the perfect people to get it done.  Renton agrees to lead this sale, and after a few more hits of heroin, they trade drugs and walk away with a rather large sum of money.  In a moment of despair, Renton realizes that his friends are far from close and that taking the money for his own is a far more logical decision.  Renton is shown alone leaving his abysmal past for a promising, drug free future.

The film captures a very hectic but important moment in the United Kingdom and Europe as a whole, that being the rise of the urban world.  It is a much funnier, less abrasive, La Haine, or like I noted earlier Guy Ritchie with a message.  It manages to catch the desolation and disillusionment of working class Europe in a short and sporadic film.  The inability for higher authorities to comprehend or reprimand the actions of Trenton and his pals assume a truth about Europe since the nineties, particularly in providing them government assistance.  Furthermore, despite being a rather detailed and concise film, particularly Trenton's affection-lacking relationship with his parents, the film ignores minority voices.  Sure the film is set in Scotland and it is rather minimal in its ethnic diversity, but the film is unbearably white, even when the crew travels to London.  This is a minor aside, but one worth noting.  Besides this, the social vision is masterful.

This is a film meant for blu-ray...trust me.  Watch it and love it.  Trust me.

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