Trainspotting: An Entertaining and Surreal Look at Addiction

In partnership with Carter Film and Ideas, The JailHouse will be publishing the works of cinephile Ben Carter. You can find the original posts on his blog.


Trainspotting is a fast-paced and surreal look at a group of misfit drug addicts living in Edinburgh, Scotland. They don’t have any responsibilities or jobs or ambitions. The movie starts out with the characters, Mark and Spud, running from a policeman because they just stole from a store to get money for heroin. Ewan McGregor plays our main druggie Mark, who gets in trouble with the law quite often.

Even when Mark attempts to drop heroin and move to London for a better life, he is soon caught up by his friends and he falls back on hard times. You have to admire his will to get clean ,but he’s such a druggie that he never really convinces you that he’ll escape the clutches of heroin.

I find films about drug addicts fascinating because it’s a life so foreign to me. Often these movies are little unnerving, and even though these characters are so flawed, you start to care for what happens to these scoundrels. I’ve seen this movie several times, and I’m always impressed with it’s ability to be funny, scarring, real, and sometimes have a jarring effect. Like the movie Requiem for a Dream, they both show some of the cruel truths that come with the savage lifestyle of an addict.

I recommend this movie for anyone who likes films that introduce you to unfamiliar lifestyles, culture, or people. It always makes me feel like I’m learning something I wouldn’t know otherwise. I know this is a 90s film that many have seen, but I recommend it to those who have let it slipped through the cracks and have never seen it.

​Apparently Danny Boyle is working on directing a sequel to Trainspotting!

*Image from Wrat.com

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