Train­spot­ting 1996

Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) is a heroin addict living in Edin­burgh. His two best friends are also junkies: Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) is obsessed with Sean Connery and Spud (Ewan Bremner) is a skinny geek who tries too hard.

They all try to keep out of the way of Begbie (Robert Carlyle), a violent and psychotic alco­holic  who despises junkies and loves to start a fight. Renton attempts to get off heroin and reform himself. He moves to London, finds a job and a flat. But his past catches up to him when Sick Boy, Begbie, and Spud arrive on his door­step looking to make a big drug score.

Train­spot­ting was a hugely influ­en­tial film made by the maverick film director Danny Boyle and became asso­ci­ated with a certain nihil­istic cool that very much fitted the times. It was helped by an outstanding soundtrack of contem­porary music and a distinctive poster that was up on every student’s wall.

From an inter­view with Robert Carlyle, Guardian, 8 Jan 2017

The film was a hit of giant scale, a cultural Godz­illa whose filthy, rowdy portrait of life, death, sex and heroin in 80s Leith became a phenomenon. The cast (were) made famous

The movie caused a splash inter­na­tion­ally, but only after sedu­cing the whole of Britain and its pallid, pimpled youth.  Set in a non-specific 80s of smack misad­ven­tures and rave epiphanies, the film’s cack­ling energy and party soundtrack somehow became the perfect emblem of 1996, the long night of Tory govern­ment about to end at last, lairy optimism conquering all.

Robert Carlyle “It’s a horrible word now, but in that Britpop moment, the film was right in the centre of everything. We all felt that when it came out. Polit­ic­ally, you felt it too. Change was coming.”

by Danny Leigh

The Making of Trainspotting

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