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Review Written by: Chris Burns
Film: A-

Directed by: Danny Boyle
Written by: John Hodge
Based on the book by: Irvine Welsh
Produced by: Andrew Macdonald
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewem Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Calyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan
Studio: Miramax Films

In Britain during the 90s, clubbing was at a high, literally and drug abuse was a regular problem concerning the government. Pop culture was pushing the limits and changing the way many people on the drug scene were used to. The problems were being told through the news, the radio and the newspapers frequently. Then in 1996 an independent British film hit the cinema, causing uproar, controversy, worldwide success, critical acclaim and even government mention, this film was called Trainspotting.

Trainspotting is based on a novel by Irvine Welsh which charts the life of a bunch of non-existent losers who are living their lives to their "supposed" full on the Edinburgh drug scene. The film charts the issues of poverty, crime and anti-social behaviour that are still alive in Britain today and shows the horrifying problems of drug abuse that the public-eye attempts to be unaware of. The film exposes the bunch of nasty, yet somewhat hilarious group of stoner's lives and how Renton (Ewan McGregor) attempts to find a true meaning to his chaotic and miserable life.

Trainspotting is not a film that will appeal to everyone; it's graphic, nasty and harrowing. Yet, it retains from wanting the viewer to stop watching and manages to hold you throughout the entire running time. A film's content can, in some cases occupy the film's story and make you lose any pity, affection or remorse for the characters. Trainspotting manages to disgust, while still informing the viewers of the problems from drugs.

For a film that is so startlingly daring and distressing at times you'd be surprised that it manages to make its point so clear and authoritative. A factor that caused controversy on release was that the film is not afraid to say "drugs are good at first", but then the film goes on to saying "but it's not worth it because the side effects will screw you up forever". It's an excellent message and one that alerts any viewer not to ever go near drugs, yet people have ignored the true meaning of the film which is held within some of the horrific imagery and experiences. If there is one film that will make you never want to take drugs its Trainspotting. It really will make you think twice and also help you understand why people do such repulsive things and then why drug abuse is wrong. Trainspotting is not a film that is preachy, it says you have one life which you should use with care and how you should realise the consequences of your actions. So at heart Trainspotting is an unforgettable and mesmerising study of wasted life. It succeeds in making its viewers come out learning and understanding one of the world's many unpleasant problems.

If you didn't see these characters going through such disturbing events the film would not have such a poignant message and one that shows so many devastating outcomes of the drug abuse. Trainspotting has many iconic and memorable characters that're acted out with the utmost sincerity, yet some remain oddly charming. The characters are hysterical at times and for a film full of such shameful people, you still manage to hold pity for their decaying lives as they spiral into a living hell. The characters are very complex, though at first they seem simple and you gain an indisputable understanding of every character for a film that only lasts 90 minutes. Trainspotting is a film that has been highly influential to cinema as a whole, sparking off many films to come out of the genre and some films even using the same visual delights. For example in Guy Richie's magnificent Snatch, the characters are introduced in a similar way to Trainspotting and this is just to name one of many influences. Danny Boyle is an imaginative director with a brilliant trademark style to accompany his films.

A film like Trainspotting is extremely exhausting because of its disturbing content and what could have been an unbearable explicit nature. Because the film is at times highly amusing and visually glorious with its matchless ambiguity you'll not want to turn it off, even in the most disgusting moments. Though the film is at times flawed in the plot structure and has a few plot holes, the cinematography washes over the viewer with a somewhat mind-numbing quality. The dialogue is brilliantly paced and laced with pop culture references, studies of British social class and haunting narrative from the almighty, career-launching performance by Ewan McGregor. Trainspotting's soundtrack is another high-point and remains entertaining, quirky and also flawlessly fitting to the scenes it accompanies.

It's a film that truly lays bare the problems of youth and drugs, showing the genuine effects with the needed explicitly and yet remaining solid entertainment from the comedy factor. A true gem of British, 90s cinema which unflinchingly depicts the lives of the no-lives in their cruel and deceitful worlds they've climbed into. Trainspotting has heart and works as an educational roller-coaster of pure realism that still shocks and teaches viewers the horrific affects of drug abuse. Trainspotting is a film that will never leave you which is ironic considering it's about addiction and affliction. Trainspotting is a film that terrifies me and should succeed in making anyone want to keep clean. We all know drug abuse is awful, but Trainspotting succeeds in showing its viewers why.

Renton (Ewan McGregor), the main protagonist of Trainspotting.
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