Welcome to another edition of Movie Review Monday!
This week's film comes to us via Netflix, and is 1996's Trainspotting, starring Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, & Robert Carlyle, among others.
I've had this film in my queue for quite a while. So long I don't even remember why I put it there in the first place. I know it's a classic film with its own sort of reverence and respect in the film world. After watching it, nearly twenty years after it came out, I can see why it was so engaging to folks. It's a highly unique, stylistic, surreal, fast-paced movie that leaves you disoriented, but still getting a fun ride and a interesting character study in the process.
Ewan McGregor's Renton is the main character, and the story follows his journey to get clean, literally and figuratively. He and his friends are addicted to drugs but Renton is looking to get off the stuff and clean up his life and go straight. A great deal of the interesting elements of the film come from Renton's struggles with drug use and the trippy sequence when he is in withdrawals. Most of the movie is Renton's narration, so you're able to get behind his actions and hear what he is thinking versus imagining it. It is done in such a way to not belittle the audience's intelligence, but to provide a more complex context to the happenings in the film. We also see how Renton's actions affect others, which is a nice touch too. Most of the movie could be watched being against Renton, since he is very morally gray. It makes for an interesting story, that I would liken in spirit to something like Breaking Bad, where you're rooting for and against the main character at different times.
My only criticisms might be that the other characters seem sort of two dimensional at times. It is Renton's show to be sure, but the other folks just seem to be a one trick pony or even just sort of vanish altogether. It's not a major gripe, but the most evident one I can think of.
That being said, I definitely recommend Trainspotting. It has a cinematic vibe similar to Scott Pilgrim VS The World in the way it is edited and shot, so I was definitely sold on it in that way.
You can stream Trainspotting now on Netflix!