Trainspotting

Trainspotting Image
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 375 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. It would be hard to imagine a movie about drugs, depravity, and all-around bad behavior more electrifying than Trainspotting.
  2. Extraordinary, entertaining cinema.
  3. TNT RoughCut
    Reviewed by: Jason Puskar
    90
    Irresistibly bleak appeal.
  4. A little like speeding through the digestive tract of some voracious beast. There's bite, acid, digestive churning and an expulsive conclusion. If the metaphor seems unsavoury, well, wait until you see the film.
  5. Creates a sense of understanding that crystallizes the essence of the drug subculture with startling clarity.
  6. The story, such as it is, follows Renton's inconsistent attempts to kick his habit.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 45
  2. Negative: 4 out of 45
  1. Feb 9, 2013
    10
    This is the best movie. Awesome soundtrack, brilliant script, and excellent acting. Both funny and totally messed up. Arguably the bestThis is the best movie. Awesome soundtrack, brilliant script, and excellent acting. Both funny and totally messed up. Arguably the best performances of all the actors in their first rolls. Cannot say that I have seen a better motion picture, it's truly Danny Boyle at his finest Expand
  2. NFW
    Jun 25, 2015
    10
    TRAINSPOTTING is a film about brutal honesty that respects it's subject matter, and is far more effective than some "don't do drugs" educationTRAINSPOTTING is a film about brutal honesty that respects it's subject matter, and is far more effective than some "don't do drugs" education video in school. Expand
  3. MichaelL.
    Mar 4, 2008
    10
    A visceral and involving masterpiece of a movie. Every scene is pitch-perfect and you won't take your eyes off the screen until the A visceral and involving masterpiece of a movie. Every scene is pitch-perfect and you won't take your eyes off the screen until the credits roll. Well, unless you made the mistake of turning away as Renton dives headlong into a filthy, cloggged toilet, only to temporarily emerge in an underwater fantasy world. Takes the excellent source novel and narrows and tightens it in just the right ways for the screen. Expand
  4. AkhilK
    Aug 24, 2005
    9
    An absolute blast! McGregor is at his best here and dare i say - in his element? Pun aside, Trainspotting is as funny as it is scary. The An absolute blast! McGregor is at his best here and dare i say - in his element? Pun aside, Trainspotting is as funny as it is scary. The nightmare scene itself would give anyone a chill before using the vile drug. It's a tad bit on the boring side at times, but at its best (which is 99% of the time) the film deserves the acclaim it has received. Expand
  5. Apr 2, 2016
    9
    Scabrous, brutal and hip, “Trainspotting” is a “Clockwork Orange” for the ’90s. This inventive pic version of U.K. author Irvine Welsh’s cultScabrous, brutal and hip, “Trainspotting” is a “Clockwork Orange” for the ’90s. This inventive pic version of U.K. author Irvine Welsh’s cult 1993 novel, set among a group of self-destructive no-hopers and junkies in Edinburgh’s underbelly, shares only the visual invention and buccaneering spirit of the same team’s explosive debut, the black comedy “Shallow Grave.” Result looks set to delight a narrow band of young auds turned on by the book and its nonjudgmental tone but alienate more general viewers with its complex mix of in-your-face realism, cinematic fantasy and four-letter dialogue, which sets new standards in screen profanity.

    Welsh’s book — more a collection of p.o.v. episodes, written in different styles, than a conventional novel — has already been translated to London’s off-West End stage. For the film, scripter John Hodge has centered the action on Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), an on-off junkie who acts as a funnel to the surreal world of his four “friends.” Like Alex in Kubrick’s 1971 pic (to which there’s a brief homage), Mark regales the audience with his anti-middle-class values and idiosyncratic philosophy of life, finally achieving a liberation that’s more a temporary escape than a real shift in perception.

    A five-minute pre-title sequence introduces the setting (an Edinburgh suburb) and main characters, each of whom gradually swims into focus as the pic unfolds. There’s Begbie (Robert Carlyle), a knife-carrying, “sensory-addicted,” foul-mouthed psycho who “only does people,” not drugs; Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), a philandering self-obsessive; way-out Spud (Ewen Bremner), who dates Gail (Shirley Henderson); and Tommy, who dates Lizzy (Pauline Lynch) and claims he never takes drugs or tells lies.

    Tale then plunges straight into its irreal world with graphic descriptions of a heroin-induced high. Mark decides to kick the habit again, but not before embarking on a megahit that starts with opium suppositories and leads him (in the pic’s most breathtaking mix of black humor and Daliesque fantasy) to dive headfirst into a pan in “the worse toilet in Scotland.”

    His sex drive returning as his system clears, Mark hooks up at a club with smart-mouthed looker Diane (Kelly Macdonald), and — in an elaborately comic sequence intercutting Tommy and Spud’s separate bedroom adventures — goes home with her. Next morning, he finds she’s still a schoolgirl living with her parents.

    Tone is set by the rough, self-deprecating Scottish humor delivered in heavy accents that will tax North American auds — and even many English — to the limit. (One sequence, in a nightclub, is even jokingly subtitled.) Rarely has a British film so relied on the flavor of dialect for its overall dramatic effect, blending humor and tragedy, realism and fantasy.

    After another giant hit and a series of withdrawal fantasies in a room whose wallpaper is covered with trains, Mark moves to London and starts over with a semi-respectable job. One day, however, Begbie turns up, and Mark is eventually lured back north and into a drug deal that could net the group some serious money.

    Film’s most striking accomplishment — which will appall moralists as much as it will delight others — is the way it takes a bunch of goal-less losers and a subject (guilt-free drug taking) that’s ripe for downbeat grunge and turns the material into a sustained piece of cinema that’s often wildly funny and, at a character level, extremely involving. Propelled by an almost constant soundtrack of songs, several featuring Iggy Pop, pic manages to sustain interest in a storyline that, until the final reels, largely goes round in circles as its main character kicks and returns to his habit.

    Unstated is the fact that the story is set in the Thatcherite ’80s, which heightens Mark’s rejection (and final apparent embrace) of consumerist values. Other than that, however, pic is just as relevant to the ’90s.

    Director Danny Boyle, again working with producer Andrew Macdonald, writer Hodge, production designer Kave Quinn, editor Masahiro Hirakubo and lenser Brian Tufano, has come up with a visual style that exactly matches the wild swings in the story. As in “Shallow Grave,” every setup complements the characters or drama and feels thought-through rather than merely used for gratuitous effect. Once again, Boyle squeezes the most visual bang out of a low-bucks budget of $ 2 .6 million.

    Performances are terrific at all levels, with McGregor a likable Mark, Bremner (who essayed the Mark role onstage) almost endearing as the loony Spud, and 17-year-old newcomer Macdonald a confident discovery as the sassy Diane. Dominating the film, however, is Carlyle, who, after notable work in “Priest” and “Go Now,” turns in a genuinely terrifying perf as the psychopathic Begbie, a walking time bomb who’s halfway to hell.
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  6. Jul 5, 2014
    8
    Overall, a very good film. It is a disturbing and sad tale, but a very well told one with great acting. Now, in terms of films on addiction,Overall, a very good film. It is a disturbing and sad tale, but a very well told one with great acting. Now, in terms of films on addiction, this one is much lighter than a film such as Requiem for a Dream and easier to get through for sure (though I do prefer Requiem for a Dream to this one). This "lightness" is thanks to good dark comedy elements and the hopefulness you feel for a better future at different times during the film. However, that does not mean this one is not dark as there are many scenes that are extremely haunting and really make you feel one with the characters as they went through these situations. Ewan McGregor is great in this film, though really the entire cast is phenomenal as everybody pulls their weight equally. Danny Boyle's direction is frenetic and fabolous. In addition, the script is awesome. Every line is dripping with quality. Ultimately, Trainspotting is a great and almost sympathetic and hopeful look at addiction and what causes people to spiral out of control. Really good film. Expand
  7. May 4, 2014
    1
    This film presents a great reason why rehab is the thing to do. You go there, pour your feelings out, listen to what the doctors tell you,This film presents a great reason why rehab is the thing to do. You go there, pour your feelings out, listen to what the doctors tell you, take the things you need to get healthier, leave there, and try to forget that you ever saw this movie. Expand

See all 45 User Reviews

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