Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trainspotting (1996) - Drama movie

Smart, funny, sickly and sometimes just plain unconscious, MARK RENTON is a hero for our times. Set in an underbelly of Edinburgh the city fathers never dreamed of, TRAINSPOTTING is the story of MARK and his so-called friends - a bunch of losers, liars, psychos, thieves and junkies. Hilarious but harrowing, the film charts the disintegration of their friendship as they proceed, seemingly inevitably, towards self destruction. Mark alone has the insight and opportunity to escape his fate but then again, does he really want to "choose life"?
Long Description
Trainspotting is a 1996 British film directed by Danny Boyle based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh. The movie follows a group of heroin addicts in early 1990s economically-depressed Edinburgh and their passage through life. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Mark Renton, Ewen Bremner as Spud, Jonny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, Kevin McKidd as Tommy, Robert Carlyle as Begbie and Kelly Macdonald as Diane. Author Irvine Welsh also has a cameo appearance as hapless drug dealer Mikey Forrester.

The Academy Award-nominated screenplay, by John Hodge, was adapted from Welsh's novel. It does not contain any references to the non-drug-related hobby of train spotting. The title is a reference to an episode in the original book (not included in the film) where Begbie and Renton meet "an auld drunkard", who turns out to be Begbie's estranged father, in the disused Leith Central railway station, which they are visiting to use as a toilet. He asks them if they are "trainspottin'". The title also relates to obsessive behavior (drug addicts obsess about getting their next fix just as trainspotters obsess about collecting train numbers) and to a slang term to inject heroin or "Mainline" it. Beyond drug addiction, other concurrent themes in the film are exploration of the urban poverty and squalor, in 'culturally rich' Edinburgh

The film has since developed a cult followingand has been ranked 10th spot by the British Film Institute (BFI) in its list of Top 100 British films of all time. It was also part of a cluster of motion pictures that some[who?] claimed glamorized the gritty lifestyle of opiate addiction to a mainstream audience and also included Pulp Fiction (1994) and The Basketball Diaries (1995). The success of these films revealed that the heroin culture, although dark and forbidden, was equally fascinating. It demonstrated that the American public hungered for glimpses into heroin's dark and mysterious culture. The film was rated an 18 in Britain for it contains very strong language, strong violence, sex and graphic depictions of intravenous drug use.

Set in Edinburgh, the film begins with a narration from Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) as he and friend 'Spud' careen down Princes Street after shoplifting to raise cash, with security guards in pursuit. Renton states that unlike people who "choose life" (a traditional family lifestyle with children and material possessions), he and his cronies have opted out of ambitious pursuits, preferring to live in a blissful, meaningless heroin-induced stupor. We are introduced to his friends: film buff Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), hanger-on Spud (Ewen Bremner), keen footballer Tommy (Kevin McKidd) and unpredictable thug Francis Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Sick Boy, obsessed with Sean Connery, is also a heroin addict, as is the goofy, innocent Spud. In contrast, Tommy and Begbie openly criticise heroin use. Tommy lives an athletic, drug-free lifestyle. Begbie does not believe in heroin, but he is (ironically) a vicious drunk, eager to pick fights for the mere thrill of instigating physical altercations. This point is clearly illustrated when Begbie is seen casually throwing his pint glass off a bar balcony, injuring a woman and causing a large-scale pub brawl.

Sick Boy and Renton decide to quit heroin, but struggle with temptation. They join Tommy, Begbie and Spud in a dance club where all five men are in pursuit of sex. The other three men have more complicated nights. After complaining about his relationship problems to his mates, Tommy takes Lizzie home for sex, wishing to make love while watching a porno video of themselves, until they discovered that their own tape was missing and instead, there was a football tape. Renton had previously stolen their personal tape in the film while claiming to borrow the football video. Tommy believes he returned it to the video rental store accidentally - a point of contention with Lizzie that later leads to the end of their relationship. Spud drinks too much alcohol, as he's in a temporary abstinent relationship with his girlfriend, Gail. That night when Gail tries to have sex, Spud passes out and defecates on her bed. Renton flirts with a young girl named Dianne (Kelly Macdonald), who quickly dissects his bad chat-up lines, but takes him home anyway. After the two have sex, Renton is forced to sleep on a couch outside her bedroom and discovers the next morning that he is actually at her parents' house and that she is under the age of sexual consent. He tries to end their relationship, but she blackmails him into staying in contact lest she call the police and inform them of their one-night stand.

With their quest to be sober not as thrilling as hoped, Sick Boy, Spud and Renton decide to get back on heroin. The film shows a montage of drug taking and dirty dealings, while Renton narrates that he and his mates tried all drugs available to them. Tommy is dumped by Lizzie and looks for solace in heroin like his mates, having been told it's "the ultimate hit... better than sex." Renton's life of stealing and drugs continues, but quickly takes many turns for the worse - beginning with the screaming of Allison at their flat. The group discovers Allison's baby daughter, Dawn, has died. The cause of death is neglect while they were all present: an infant's distorted wails play over the preceding drug montage. All are shocked and feel terrible - Sick Boy, the father, most of all. A short time later, Renton and Spud are caught stealing from a department store (in a reprise of the opening scene of the film). Spud goes to jail but Renton avoids incarceration by enlisting in a Drug Interventions Programme where he is supplied with the heroin substitute methadone.

Even though his journey to sobriety begins with much love from his parents and mates (such as Sick Boy and Begbie), within hours Renton is back at the flat of his dealer - named "Mother Superior" for "the length of his habit" - and orders more heroin. Renton overdoses on the heroin and is dragged by "Mother Superior" and a taxi driver to the hospital, where nurses save his life. Seeing no other option, Renton's parents lock him in his own room to beat the addiction cold turkey. He has several hallucinations, including Spud in jail, a now drug addicted (and possibly HIV infected) Tommy, and Dawn, Allison's dead baby, crawling toward him on the ceiling, framed by a bizarre, dreamed or imagined TV gameshow in which host Dale Winton asks the contestants, who are Renton's mother and father, "Is he guilty... or not guilty?" The gameshow hints that Renton is free of AIDS, but his friend Tommy is not so lucky.

Clean of heroin, Renton feels no purpose in life and decides to move to London and start a job as a property letting agent. Renton continues his sobriety while enjoying the vibrancy of London and saving up money on the side. His happiness is again short-lived, however, as Begbie arrives at his London flat seeking a hiding place from the police for armed robbery. Sick Boy also shows up and once again, Renton is frustrated that he cannot turn his "mates" away. As things are boiling over in the small space, the three are told of Tommy's death from toxoplasmosis back in Scotland. They return home and meet Spud, who is now out of jail and also sober.

Following Tommy's funeral, Sick Boy suggests a large and dangerous opportunity for them; the chance to buy two kilos of heroin for £4000 and sell it for up to £20,000. Begbie demands that Renton put up much of the money, having seen Renton's bank statements. Though he is wary about the deal, Renton agrees. The foursome meet a professional heroin dealer and sell him the heroin for £16,000, leading to an afternoon celebration between all four mates in a pub. However, Begbie draws a knife on a customer in the pub and beats him severely while accidentally slicing Spud's hand open. Renton has already been thinking about stealing all the money for himself. As Begbie stands over the beaten man and demands a cigarette to come down from his "high", Renton apparently resolves that he will steal the money from his mates, whom he has come to understand are not his mates at all, with the exception of Spud.

Early the next morning after the sun has come up Renton pulls the bag of money away from a sleeping Begbie. Renton looks at Spud, who is awake and has seen everything but he does not wake the others. Renton leaves and vows to live the stable, middle class life he described at the beginning of the film. When Begbie awakes he is furious and begins to destroy the room. The last time Begbie is seen, he is pulling a knife from his pocket as the police bang on the door. Spud later finds £2000 left for him by Renton in a locker

Cast By
* Ewan McGregor as Mark Renton
* Ewen Bremner as Daniel "Spud" Murphy
* Jonny Lee Miller as Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson
* Robert Carlyle as Francis Begbie
* Kevin McKidd as Tommy MacKenzie
* Kelly Macdonald as Diane Coulston
* Peter Mullan as Swanney "Mother Superior"
* Eileen Nicholas as Mrs. Renton
* Susan Vidler as Allison
* Pauline Lynch as Lizzy
* Shirley Henderson as Gail
* Irvine Welsh as Mikey Forrester
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Trainspotting subtitle

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