• Film
  • Comedy
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A shocking, painfully subjective trawl through the Edinburgh heroin culture of the 1980s, Irvine Welsh's cult novel is hardly an obvious choice for the team who made Shallow Grave. Yet the film's a triumph. Audaciously punching up the pitch-black comedy, juggling parallel character strands and juxtaposing image, music and voice-over with a virtuosity worthy of Scorsese on peak form, Trainspotting the movie captures precisely Welsh's insolent, amoral intelligence. Amoral, but not unthinking, and certainly not unfeeling. Nihilism runs deep in this movie, emotion cannot be countenanced, only blocked off by another hit, another gag, but the anarchic, exhilarating rush of the highs can't drown out the subsequent, devastating lows - these are two sides of the same desperation. Danny Boyle's intuitive, vital, empathetic direction pushes so far, the movie flies on sheer momentum - that and bravura performances from Bremner's gormless Spud, Carlyle's terrifying Begbie and, especially, McGregor's Renton, who supplies a low-key, charismatic centre. This may not have the weight of 'Great Art', but it crystallises youthful disaffection with the verve of the best and brightest pop culture. A sensation.

Release details

Duration: 93 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Danny Boyle
Screenwriter: John Hodge
Cast: Jonny Lee Miller
Robert Carlyle
Ewen Bremner
Kevin McKidd
Irvine Welsh
Ewan McGregor
Pauline Lynch
Kelly MacDonald
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