Cover Art: 8/10
I’m such a huge fan of this movie it’s hard to be critical of any part of it. However, I am also totally in love with the movie poster for Trainspotting that has the first monologue spoken by the leading man, Renton. The poster is white with orange letters. I would liked to have seen that on the DVD cover, even if it does have a few nasty words on it. Even if this cover doesn’t capture the true irreverent spirit of the story, it’s still pretty cool with its glam colors and graphic design appeal.
The menus are more up to speed as far as sticking with the somewhat psychedelic feel of the movie. Bright orange drowns the main menu and it also dominates the transitions between things like scene selection and extras.
For the extras menu you get the claustrophobic scene of the gents on a bus toilet, looped, over and over as they sit and prepare, as they will, to go on their heist.
Over all I suppose the packaging is ok. I would liked to have seen more of the amazing compositional designs that are woven through the movie, but then again, Danny Boyle wasn’t in charge of the DVD cover, was he?
- Making Of Trainspotting – It ain’t huge, but it’s got a lot of background info about the making of the movie including how they procured the music, how they acquired the cast, and some of the concepts that made the film what it eventually became, a classic.
- Trainspotting Retrospective – Interviews with people involved with the movie with clips of them from then and now talking about their experiences and impressions of the film, the book, and Doyle.
- Interviews With Filmmakers – More interviews with the people behind the scenes who bring it all together. From the DP to the director and the author of the original novel.
- Behind The Needle Multi Angle Special – Get a close up and personal look at how they can construct a fabricated arm for the very graphic shooting up images. From latex skin to fake blood, this arm goes down as having the most famous veins in cinematic history.
- Cannes Film Festival Interviews – A few famous folks talk about the film. These are fly by interviews so not much substance, just a lot of glitter.
- Biographies – self explanatory
- Feature Commentary – We all know what a commentary is by now and with Boyle at the mic we are lucky to have such a chance to listen in on his creative thinking that fueled the look, tone, and feel of this less than mainstream story.
- Deleted Scenes With Commentary – It’s great to have deleted scenes, but sometimes they just don’t add, or wouldn’t have added much to the story. In this case these are all bits and pieces that are not missed, and yet it feels like a waste to not include them I the final cut. Boyle did set the goal of making a 90 minute film, so lots of footage got cut for the sake of time alone.
- Gallery – A cool slide show of photos taken during filming of behind the scenes and lots of costume continuity photos. I think Doyle has a think for the continuity photos, they cropped up on the 28 Days Later DVD too..hmmmm
- Trailers – One is a great teaser trailer, the other is a fast paced tell-all glimpse of the crazy ride you will be taking when you choose to watch this movie.
The Movie: 10/10:
This ain’t your mamma’s movie my friends. Well, if she’s hip and cool like you, she might get it, but chances are she might go into shock from some of the more intense images and themes that dominate this Trainspotting experience. I will give you a brief run down of how I came to so seriously love this movie. If it hadn’t been for a little budding internet romance in my life a few years ago, Renton and his friends would have forever remained a mystery to me.
I was challenged, tested if you will, by a young man to watch a list of his favorite movies to see what I though of them. I think this was to see just how well we would get along when discussing our favorite form of entertainment, watching films. On the list was the entire Kevin Smith collection, which I fell for immediately, along with some other edgy titles like Kalifornia, Natural Born Killers, and anything associated with Quentin Tarantino. Amongst these bold choices was a little thing called Trainspotting. I didn’t know what it was, but to win the heart of this handsome exotic British dude I would travel the four corners of town to hunt it down and face the challenge of what could have been a risky movie to ask a semi-stranger female online companion to watch without explanation or forewarning of the subject matter, let alone the imagery about to set loose on her Boyle-free eyes. (nice)
To make a short story shorter, I rented, I watched, I fell in love…with the movie and the British fellow. I’m not sure if he was surprised that I liked the movie, but I do think our future rested on my reaction to that movie list. So that’s a lesson to you internet lovers out there. Send each other the ultimate test, the 10 movies you love that you think the other person just might run away from screaming. If they don’t run away, you’ve got yourself a match made in cinematic heaven.
Tally Ho…On with the review –
How can a director and a cinematographer balance two opposite visual styles so beautifully? Trainspotting is supposed to be somewhat grungy, somewhat rough around the edges because that’s the life the characters lead. But amongst the dirt, the filth and the who-knows-what splattered and aged in every nook and cranny of the world they live in, this film is awash with brilliant colors and stunning design. The look of the film is amazing and so intriguing that the last time I watched the movie I found myself almost sidestepping the story to look at everything in each shot. It’s like movie artwork with the well composed shots and full on use of the wide screen format. This team of film makers must have been looking at the screen as if it were a canvas and they wanted to make use of every square inch of it. They don’t waste any space, I’ll tell ya that, even if they fill it with a backdrop of a simple multi-story apartment building or the front of a night club, it’s all done with the best of intentions, to make a movie that’s as fun to look at as it is to watch, if you know what I mean J. It’s a pleasure to see such attention to detail in the artistic arena of film making.
The story could be like a lot of other “junkie going clean” tales of horror and triumph, but that would be too romantic, too poetic for Boyle. Not to mention I’m sure the original novel was not intended to be glamorous or put a romantic spin on the heroin riddled lifestyle. We start with Renton, Ewan McGregor and his friends running from the police with a pounding backbeat of 80’s Brit music and McGregor’s voice spewing the ills of living a life without smack. “….Choose sitting on the coach watching mind numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fu**ed-up brats you spawned to replace yourself…..” etc. And just before the story begins, he ends his philosophy with, “I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?”
Being a heroin addict doesn’t make you a failure, and staying off of drugs doesn’t make you a success. That would be something I heard loud and clear in this movie. Not that it has to be heroin precisely, but any lifestyle that keeps you in that world, a world of drugs, crime, shortage of funds, nothing really to aspire and everything to run away from is bound to bring some misery knocking at your door. Renton does his best to kick his smack habit, only to slip time and time again. At one point his parents lock him in his room and he proceeds to have delusions of some crazy stuff, suffering the withdrawals, but coming out the other side with a clean slate and a new chance to have the mundane boring life of a non-addict.
His friends, however, are not quite so ready to chuck the nasty living conditions, the getting high, the family they have formed through sharing their little habit, so they have a tendency to drag Renton back to the starting line, again and again.
In between his ups and downs he meets a young woman and gets a taste of life without wasted days, tragic endings, and needles at the ready. Renton is ready to get out, but there’s one last thing that has to happen, his friends have to screw it all up one more time. It’s one last time to make a big score and split the dosh four ways. Renton is in and one last dodgy deal is going to bring him closer to either a full time junkie, or breaking away with what’s left of his youth and a big wad of cash to start his life all over again.
There are so many fantastic scenes in this film I don’t know which one to talk about, so I’ll just leave it up to you to find out for yourself. There is a hint of rebellion in this film, and a chunk of sarcasm, and surprisingly a lot of hope. It might delve into some dark places, but as a whole it’s a pretty uplifting experience.
Cheers to everyone who worked on this film, it’s been a pleasure to watch over and over, and it did help seal the deal between that internet guy and myself…we’ve now been married four and a half years!!
Twenty bucks people!! That’s it for this classic and a good amount of extras to spice up the deal. I say go for it. It’s a great one to have in your collection, heck, get two or three and share them with your friends.
Overall Score 9/10