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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 14.97%
Average: 1.6%
Pretty Bad: 2.67%
Total Crap: 1.6%

8 reviews, 139 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Pure blistering brilliance"
5 stars

Danny Boyle's "Trainspotting" is a blast of ice-cold water across a sweaty brow; it's a lively, vibrant and pulsatingly addictive movie, an experience not unlike a roller-coaster ride through some of the sickest, slimiest and heart-stoppingly shocking sub-levels of drug addiction.

Here is a movie that displays the physical and emotional appeal of heroin while also presenting a cautionary tale so brazen and harrowing that it could drive the most degenerate junkie into the closest rehab center. Trainspotting is brave and ballsy and frequently hilarious; it's dark, smart and uncompromising in a way that only the best films are. It's more than one of the best 'drug movies' ever made; it's arguably the finest film to come out of the UK since the days of A Clockwork Orange - and a movie that will most likely be adored in 50 years as much as it is today. Perhaps even moreso.

If you want to tell the ugly truth about an unpleasant topic, do it colorfully, unflinchingly and without apology. Director Danny Boyle understands this approach and Trainspotting is an absolute primer on how to make something as disturbing as heroin addiction into a hard-hearted film that enlightens as effortlessly as it entertains. Laden with monumentally memorable characters, a handful of truly outrageous moments, a half-dozen superlative acting performances and a soundtrack that easily ranks among the finest of the past several decades - Trainspotting is a film that deserves every ounce of praise it's earned, plus a whole lot more.

If a plot synopsis like "slice-of-life absurdist drama about a group of disaffected Scottish youths who waste their young lives, forever awaiting their next visit from Mr. Hypodermic" sounds like a whole lot of dreary after-school-special material, then you may be among the many who've yet to experience the bliss of Trainspotting. In which case, I'd ask that you close this window right now, find your car keys, and go find yourself of a copy of the new Special Edition DVD. Watch the movie and then come on back.

There, now don't you feel just a little more...alive? How insane is that movie? How could something be so heartbreakingly ugly, so toe-tappingly alive and so head-slappingly hilarious at the same time? One can only be grateful that there are other countries boasting such admirable filmmakers and producers, because there's no way that Trainspotting would have ever made it through the United States Movie Machine.

Based on the well-adored novel by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting is, on its surface, not about much more than a few heroin junkies and their struggles in Edinburgh, circa 1983 (or thereabouts). Our main character is Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), a clearly intelligent and open-minded young turk who has a nasty heroin habit. Along with pseudo-pals Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Tommy (Kevin McKidd) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle), Renton take us on a brief sojourn into the world of low-end junkiedom of the most fascinating order.

Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge never once apologize or make excuses for these characters. Nor do they cast aspersions or paint the drug addicts with broad or simplistic brush strokes. Their world is presented as equal parts blissful, desperate, inviting and horrific. The viewer is left to decide for themselves how they feel about the boys and their actions. And it's this lack of judgment that enables Trainspotting to soar; huge and disgusting laughs are followed by scenes of stunning tragedy or arcane beauty. Small victories are punctuated by painful backslides; moments of giddy glee are interrupted by unpredictable upsets.

Trainspotting is as difficult to categorize as it is to dismiss. It works as a deviously dark comedy, a colorful cautionary tale, a brilliant trek into a world generally unseen, a dank and dangerous horror show, a crackingly concise social commentary, and a wonderfully off-kilter multi-character study. It's got the heart of a junkie, the brain of a survivor and the soul of a disco dancer. This movie packs more wit, danger, insight and pure entertainment value into its 90 minutes than most movies could given 4 hours. It's bright, tight, compact, and absolutely electric with life. I gave it 5 stars eight years ago, and the movie just gets better with each new visit.

Clearly, I love this movie. The new goodies on Miramax's "Collector's Series" edition are just icing on one of my favorite cakes. Fans will be thrilled to find the following: an audio commentary consisting of interview segments with Ewan McGregor, Danny Boyle, John Hodge, and producer Andrew McDonald; nine deleted scenes with optional Boyle/McDonald commentary; several Behind-the-Scenes featurettes both archival and retrospective; extensive interviews with Welsh, Hodge, Boyle and McDonald; footage from the film's 1996 Cannes premiere; stills galleries and trailers.

Few DVDs are what I'd call worth their weight in heroin, but this new "Trainspotting" 2-discer now holds a very special place in my collection...right next to "Requiem for a Dream".

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originally posted: 07/02/04 10:40:59
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User Comments

1/23/19 morris campbell a solid antidrug film 4 stars
8/11/15 Bents Tells an epic tale in 94 minutes. 5 stars
5/13/15 stanley welles an inventive, dark and hilarious film 5 stars
3/07/15 Ameer B didn't like this one 1 stars
12/18/13 John Tiller This film is truly great. It has everything: comedy, insight into addicts, social commentry 5 stars
5/23/12 keith miron I liked when the baby crawled on the ceiling 4 stars
4/24/12 Marty Cool movie about heroine. teaches u bout ur view on drug culture. funny too! 4 stars
12/29/09 Dane Youssef The very finest of 1996. Raw, funny and enthralling. As grand as the book that bore it. 5 stars
9/11/09 conner cinema at its finest, funny, comical, disturbing, violent, 5 stars
7/13/09 mr.mike Is no bad. 4 stars
10/05/08 Tom monumentally overrated 2 stars
7/06/08 Jason Strickland One of my absolute favorite films EVER! 5 stars
2/26/08 Cannsaw My #1 5 stars
2/04/08 Liam Brilliant, poweful film... as close as I've seen to perfection 5 stars
9/25/07 Beau wait ill it comes out on tv and make sure ur not home!! it was really garbage!! 2 stars
4/13/07 MP Bartley Biting, energetic and very very funny. 5 stars
3/27/07 fools♫gold I've always liked "Shallow Grave" better. 4 stars
2/19/07 Nick Maday Truly one of the best movies I have eer seen/ 5 stars
1/29/07 David Cohen Overrated?! What does it take to impress you people?! 5 stars
1/29/07 Lisa Craven This movie just didn't do it for me...I pass 2 stars
11/07/06 choose life......choose maddi!!!! soooooooo good. it wouldnt have been the same without spud! my hero 5 stars
11/01/06 Charles Tatum Good stuff has its moments 4 stars
10/04/06 Baldeadly The Book was Quite hard to grasp the Movie was GREAT! Soundtrack was Great Too. Just GREAT! 5 stars
9/19/06 Scottish Dave This film will be remembered as a cult GOD. It is that good and hard hitting. 5 stars
9/13/06 Bitchflaps Riveting... if you have ADHD, a low IQ and can't be arsed to read about drugs. 2 stars
5/05/06 ES Entertaining but overrated. The bed sheets thing still haunts me 4 stars
2/23/06 Doc Hollywood Really enjoyable and thought provoking 5 stars
2/21/06 Scott One of my favorite movies of all time 5 stars
12/05/05 Gene Carmean Outstanding 5 stars
12/01/05 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Fun to watch, fun to get sick to. 4 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Go see this movie. Go see this movie now. Right now. And see Millions as well. 5 stars
10/27/05 Begbie It was fucking obvious that this Shaun cunt was gonna fuck some cunt. 5 stars
9/16/05 Indrid Cold Loses some steam when the plot starts about an hour in, but definitely worth a look. 4 stars
5/10/05 Vince This is the shit. 5 stars
4/29/05 Alyson One of the best movies I've ever seen! 5 stars
9/26/04 Shaun Overated at the time. Even worse today 1 stars
8/22/04 PatL This is the stuff classics are made of! 5 stars
8/09/04 Abbath Greatest movie of all time, bar none! 5 stars
7/26/04 Agent Sands Trainspotting & Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas R the greatest double feature ever! Trust me! 5 stars
7/23/04 Sean Norton entirely fails to display the catastrophic results of heroin addiction. 4 stars
7/21/04 April Gupton so depressing 5 stars
7/07/04 Margie some of the best visuals. one of the greatest "don't do drugs or you'll be screwed" movies 5 stars
5/14/04 willie RENTON is scottish "english lad" my ass! 4 stars
3/08/04 Natasha It's absolutely great!! 5 stars
9/26/03 I Would For it's lack of coherence and overuse of style, this is one Hell of a film. 4 stars
7/31/03 FLiK Phenomenal; and one of the funniest constipation jokes I've heard 5 stars
6/11/03 Kelley amazing 5 stars
6/08/03 Pure Morning The best film to come out of Britain in the 90's. Maybe forever. 5 stars
5/17/03 Andrew Carden Good Performances, but An Overrated Film. 3 stars
5/13/03 Movie Expert A masterpiece about accepting life even though life is unfair and depressing 5 stars
5/12/03 mr. Pink very entertaining, great editing, great style, great acting. But there's a bit shallow core 4 stars
5/05/03 Bluto McBlurt The greatest anti-drug commercial ever produced. 5 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby Sensationalism over coherence. McGregor is superb; Carlysle is atrocious. 1 stars
3/30/03 joey never feel bored even watch it for 10 times! 5 stars
3/18/03 Shadaan Felfeli Fantastic 4 stars
1/21/03 Rene I just saw it, primely fro "Rent-Boy" himself and fell in love with the whole cast! 5 stars
12/17/02 chris fuck you, hollywood. 5 stars
11/09/02 Michael Bolton 'begbie' kicks ass, ewan m. before the star wars bullshit. 5 stars
9/30/02 Marian i love. it captured that miserable feeling everybody gets. 5 stars
6/10/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi mmm...ewan 5 stars
5/14/02 Francis mostly excellent, but some scenes tedious, and no-one gets away with that much pub violence 4 stars
4/27/02 maximal01 'Dead baby on the roof' scene made me cry into my pillow. 4 stars
4/01/02 Swashbuckler Yeah, how I love the toilets in Scotland 5 stars
3/13/02 Mickey One of the greatest movies ever!! 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance Blow, Requiem For a Dream, and Trainspotting... all belong in a category of their own. WOW! 5 stars
12/19/01 paul definately one of my five favorite movies... of all time... 5 stars
10/11/01 Smokie I just read the book. Wow! even more eye-opening than the movie 5 stars
9/09/01 Gary Hilarious, hard-hitting, effective & skilfully directed. McGregor & Carlyle are excellent. 5 stars
8/21/01 Monster W. Kung Together with Fight Club, the best movie of the 90s. 5 stars
8/21/01 P.Rodriguez Nuff said 5 stars
8/16/01 christina paciolla dark, gritty, and disturbing...highly entertaining and touching 5 stars
8/06/01 daniel awesome movie, possibly best movie/soundtrack combo ever. scenes/music are inseparable. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg compelling and hard hiting,with some funny moments as well . 5 stars
7/23/01 patchouli fucking great 5 stars
7/03/01 Boomshanka A groundbreaker, well written, and none too comfortable to watch. Great stuff. 5 stars
6/13/01 Bada Bing Crosby I like all junkie movies, they have built-in appeal to me for some sick fucking reason 5 stars
6/11/01 ReeRee757 One of the best movies I've ever seen. Too bad it didn't do better in the States. 5 stars
4/26/01 trasu This is a really great movie, one of my favorites. Clever, funny and dark. 5 stars
4/24/01 Spetters Very good, even brilliant in parts, but a bit too hip (read: shallow) 4 stars
4/19/01 Tam Gritty drama packed with dark humour, a top script and superb acting. 5 stars
3/20/01 TNT-6 The best movie I've ever seen about drug addiction. 5 stars
2/13/01 Jake was entertaining but wouldn't see it again 3 stars
1/16/01 Nut The best movie of the 90's. 5 stars
1/04/01 Cora van Voornamen great, clever movie. however, welsh has better books if you're into that. 5 stars
10/28/00 Mic An almost interesting look at addicts, but not quite interesting enough as a whole. 2 stars
10/23/00 sickboy One of my favorite movies. 5 stars
9/20/00 Jeff very good 4 stars
9/18/00 Greyjack Hot diggety damn--this movie's brilliant! 5 stars
7/18/00 Matthew Bartley Come in Hollywood your time is up 5 stars
6/08/00 TERRIE SMITH One hell of a film and not for everyone's taste; volatile acting from Robert Carlyle 5 stars
6/03/00 PJ Coooool funny, and hip. Danny Boyle has and will never do a better movie, no where near. 5 stars
5/30/00 Zatoichi Jones heroin is bad for you. this movie demonstrates it 4 stars
5/07/00 Klute. Just a very good, well written, well performed, original film. 5 stars
4/26/00 The Bomb 69 i choose life, funny shite 5 stars
4/16/00 JonnyAngel Where have you gone Ewan? 5 stars
3/20/00 Alexis Boucher I love this, Trainspotting rocked my world. Ewan Mcgregor is awesome, one of my favorites. 5 stars
3/01/00 Ionicera supposedly unfilmable books make the best movies 5 stars
2/28/00 Tim Boehm Has got to be one of the best films of the decade. Ewen McGregor is amazing 5 stars
2/20/00 perverted pixie Great, but way over- rated. I prefered "The Beach". 4 stars
2/16/00 Neil Austin er..Hollywood can kiss my arse, if you do close to this, I'll kiss yours. 5 stars
1/24/00 Casey Jarzabek THE BEST OF THE BEST 5 stars
1/09/00 unstrung its great, a real look at whats its like to be adicted, not a sugarcoated hollywood version 5 stars
11/16/99 Don Valdez Great movie, choose life. 5 stars
10/30/99 Bozo It was amazing but I wouldn't see it again 5 stars
10/25/99 Bueller Tough subject matter, treated with both grit and humor. 4 stars
9/28/99 Glitter Berry Ewan should have been nominated for this witty excuse to NEVER try heroin 5 stars
9/17/99 richard fortunato whirling, frenetic, sour yet appealing 5 stars
9/07/99 RPiTaYa "I've got the beast in my sights, Moneypenny" 5 stars
9/05/99 Weird Andy At times very funny, but generally pointless. Still better than average. 3 stars
8/26/99 Azimat THE NO.1 MOVIE OF MY LIFE!!! 5 stars
8/05/99 Izumi "With God 's help, I'll conquer this affliction." Disturbing but surprisingly up-lifting... 5 stars
8/01/99 mara 1st view-disturbing...2nd-amazing."do you she the beast, do you have him in your shights?" 5 stars
7/26/99 The Bomb 69 Sick boy reminded me of myself back in my heroin days 5 stars
7/20/99 Matthew Bartley Ready to surrender yet Hollywood? 5 stars
7/15/99 GothamDK Bloody great movie! Love that toilet bowl scene. Visionary. 5 stars
7/15/99 Kiwi The best! 5 stars
7/15/99 J. Random Hacker This is a brilliant brilliant movie. Depressing, yet ultimately uplifting. 5 stars
4/28/99 Michael Grimm heroin never looked so good and bad!!! 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson deserving of the hype 5 stars
12/12/98 Jules Fucking Wow! 5 stars
12/05/98 The Dude This was the best fucking gross-out comedy I've ever fucking seen motherfuckers. 5 stars
12/04/98 Matthew J. Soucy Spectacular filmmaking, augmented by a killer soundtrack. 5 stars
12/02/98 Evil Buffy i love this film. ewan and danny boyle direction. gross, poinet and beautiful. i wanna be 5 stars
11/28/98 Mr.Pink Terrific!!! 5 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob A syncratic blending of moralization and deporability. In it's own class! 5 stars
10/24/98 Ash THIS HAS TO BE ONE OF THE TOP TEN BEST MOVIES-Great Acting, style, quirky and fun!!!!!! 5 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo You people are clearly morons. This was a great Goddamned movie. One of the best in years. 5 stars
9/28/98 Heather Wow wow wow! Powerful film! 5 stars
9/27/98 {{{OZ}}} Just a great fucking film, great acting, script, humor and music. Mondo awesome. 5 stars
9/26/98 Slabs Makes me never want to look in a toilet again. Too Swee! But don't let mom see it... 5 stars
9/21/98 Maegs Beyond brilliant, this is Hodge and Boyle at their incredible best! 5 stars
9/05/98 Kid Pee-Pee Terrific shit. 5 stars
9/04/98 Johny A Great film 5 stars
9/04/98 Badass A trip. 5 stars
9/01/98 MikeF I saw it in bits and pieces and then the otherday I finally got to see it whole. it's great 5 stars
8/31/98 Matt definitely on my top ten of all time 5 stars
8/30/98 Mister Whoopee If you haven't seen this yet, you should go get it out now. Seriously. It's awesome. Superb 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Totally inventive, really well written, damn funny and worth watching many times. 5 stars
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  19-Jul-1996 (R)
  DVD: 01-Jun-2004



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