Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Ewan McGregor , Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle , Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan, Irvine Welsh .
Director Danny Boyle ’s 1996 film ‘Trainspotting’ paints a dark picture of the Edinburgh underground drugs scene. Ewan McGregor stars as Renton who tries to escape the drugs scene he seems locked into. His efforts are made more difficult by the influence of friends also into the scene and by the powerful lure of the drugs themselves.
Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner and Kevin McKidd are among the group of friends, many of whom are using heroin as a means of opting out of living a ‘normal life’. The film suggest that they have made a conscious choice to use heroin as a means of avoiding being led down the path of ambition, jobs, family and the other things expected by society norms. As the film shows however, the world of heroin is far from paradise and Renton tries hard to quit heroin. This proves to be extremely difficult and Renton is on and off the drug throughout the film, trying Methadone treatment and sometimes just going ‘cold turkey’.
Renton gets involved in a big heroin deal with some of his friends, but eventually takes most of the money for himself and decides to stay in London and vows to live the ‘normal life’ that they had rejected in the early part of the film.
The film shows a very negative side of life in Scotland, concentrating as it does on the drug underground of Scotland’s big cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow. Visitors to Scotland should not judge these fine cities on this, however. Both cities offer a warm welcome to the visitor despite being quite different from each other.
Edinburgh offers a view of days gone by in Scotland with much of the original architecture intact and the magnificent Edinburgh Castle that dominates the skyline. The castle sits on top of a hill overlooking the main city and can be seen clearly from Princes Street, Edinburgh’s magnificent main shopping street. Edinburgh is home to the Edinburgh Festival which attracts huge numbers of visitors to the city. Glasgow is a more modern looking city, but is nonetheless no less welcoming. It offers a large variety of excellent hotels , restaurants and pubs all offering the legendary warmth of a Scottish hospitality. The soundtrack of the film was also a big hit, featuring music by Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, New Order and Underworld to name but a few.
A Picture of Britain