Forgotten Drug Movies #3: Trainspotting

18 days ago

Almost three decades before the release of this movie the master of gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson documented his two days long road trip. His chronicle could be sufficient to summarize, and review the movie.

No, not “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” the movie.

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride… and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well… maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: tune in, freak out, get beaten.”
— Hunter S. Thompson

For years after it, British director Danny Boyle would go on to great successes, even landing several Oscar nominations and one Oscar for Best Director with the Slumdog Millionnaire. Boyle didn’t only make popular movies for the wider mainstream audience, in fact his roots are more in cult movies.

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Respected and often innovative movies. Cult like the popular 2002 “28 Days Later”, the defining zombie movie of the turn of the millennium. Cult like the less popular 1997 black comedy “A Life less Ordinary”.

But his true call to fame came some years earlier. With what may have been the wildest ticket he bought yet and boy, was it a ride.

In our last Forgotten Drug Movies we mentioned that sometimes there’s movies it all doesn’t matter and sometimes, the review writes itself, just like that. Because the movie had something, something extra.

This time though, this time it’s a whole ‘nother case. A case of not knowing where to begin.

Diarrhea? The baby? The score? The juxtapositions? The theme song by a guy who bought probably enough tickets and rode enough rides to be mentioned in the same breath as Ozzy and Keith? That toilet?

There’s just too much to this movie to write a comprehensive review, let alone a cohesive review. But a cohesive review wouldn’t do Danny Boyle’s earliest success any justice because the movie is just such a darn sweet mess.

And, we love it for it.

It wouldn’t be different from trying to explain somebody “The Matrix” in less than 400 words. You get it and love it or... you don’t.

And this movie is just such a darn sweet mess hitting all the wrong buttons in all the right ways. Not “Very Bad Things” wrong buttons in the right ways way, no just a brilliant Scottish mess.

Nothing less, much more.

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With an even more brilliant opening scene. Yes, everyone following the Forgotten Drug Movies may already have noticed it, I like great opening scenes. More so, the movie opens with a brilliant societal criticism which couldn’t be more relevant more than 20 years later.

Enough Already... What’s Good About It?

Wait, didn’t I already write about enough reasons? But, alright, because you asked:

  1. That toilet
  2. The baby. The baby
  3. Begbie

The Plot

No, seriously. Are you torturing me and expect a plot review and analysis? I would but it would more likely than not kill it for you. Unless you have some sick dark sense of humor. Which I do, but you probably learned that already when I mentioned “Very Bad Things” right ways earlier in this review.

Truth is that if I were to tell you about the plot, there’s no way I could possibly not tell you about that toilet. Or the baby.

I would have to give away all the juxtapositions the movie is built around. I mostly would spoil it for you and that not because of that toilet. No, just because you would know it but at the same time you would miss out on all the brilliant details in it. Details like Sick Boy’s views on Sean Connery.

The life and hardship of tweakers. The camaraderie among addicts.

And, of course, Spud’s job interview.

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Genre

Some say it’s a pro-drugs movie, some say it’s an anti-drugs movie. Some have featured it on lists of movies too upsetting to watch twice. If you’re anything like me though, you find it a sweet comedy. Slightly dark, maybe a reminder to stay away from the harder stuff, but a comedy nevertheless.

You buy the ticket and take the ride.

Most of all, the genre is definitely a Must see movie. And while for this review we won’t care about what the critics said, let’s nevertheless mention the great 8.2 rating over at IMDb.

At one point you’ve got it. Then you lose it. And then it’s gone forever.
— Sick Boy

It has been said that it became the “voice of a generation”. If you ever walked through Camden Town you definitely saw all the Choose Life posters.

More than the voice of a generation it became the spine of Danny Boyle’s oeuvre. Enough for him to return 2 decades later with a sequel.

A sequel which proved almost as successful as the original movie. The same crew, the same Scotland, the same Edinburgh, and Danny Boyle again.

Almost as good, almost as smart but just not as good. Just not, even though it has an arguably better OST.

But maybe I also feel that way about the sequel because I am part of that generation.

One More Thing

If not for the dark humor then definitely also for Iggy Pop, David Bowie and absolutely for “Born Slippy”. And the genuine desire to really show that toilet in this review.

Also, not to forget Irvine Welsh’s brilliant book the movie is based on: Trainspotting.



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Watched this move for the first time on LSD and the toilet scene had me all kinds of 'f'messed up! Definitely a classic!!

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It does that to people. And not just the first time LOL.

Before you even mentioned it 🤮 that toilet sceen 😂 It's been years since I watched this movie but that still stands out in my mind.

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LOL. How about the baby?

Well, i am big fan of good movies, mostly science fiction movies. "Limitless" was one of my favourite movies related to drug, but yes, if these movies are that good, i'll watch them.

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Of course I’m biased having chosen the movies I write about here but generally most have found solid critical acclaim.

They aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I don’t watch box office movies or hardly. This is a classic tho. 8.2 over at IMDb is a massive rating.

Awesome upload cheers

That's a cult classic. I love this film. The sequel unfortunately sucks.

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It was a bit all over the place but it was alright, some good parts in it for sure 👌

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Was always going to “suck” after the original one. Hard to even achieve same level.

Idk if its forgotten, its a classic Scottish movie 👌

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Yeah, I think the “Forgotten” part is more a red line through everything because many haven’t seen many drugs related movies.

Think it’s highest ranking Scottish movie?

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Probably not the highest ranking, but it's one of the most iconic/well-known. Really shows off Glasgow and Edinburgh & I think helped put people off doing heroin which is good.

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Definitely had that effect.

I think helped put people off doing heroin which is good.

For me, personally, “Ich, Christiane F. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo“ had that effect when I first read the book.

Trainspotting is actually too iconic, and hilarious too, for the movie to be truly valued. It’s a brilliant movie and the degree of juxtapositions throughout the whole movie is top shelf. From opening to closing scene.

Unless I’m overlooking one seems to be on IMDb. Braveheart doesn’t really count as “Scottish”.