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Thread: Trainspotting

  1. #1
    Al
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    Prior to this my favourite film was Oliver (1968). (Sad but true)



    Every (new) film I have seen since then was just a waste of a couple of hours of my life - honestly.



    Then I saw Trainspotting and I was totally captivated for the duration. I don't take drugs, I hardly empathise with anyone or anything in the film. Its just that I thought it a fantastic film - the humour, the acting, the music, the script - everything.



    Sorry if this all sounds a little amateurish - but there you have it.



    (Great web site BTW)




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    I can only agree, the depths the addicts sink too is graphically described in the toilet scene. The narration of the story line, the contrast between the characters, the violent. the cracfty all potrayed with an excellent script.



    Rgds



    Jaxs

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Why I'm mad about...Trainspotting



    The best British film of the 1990s still leaves Ed Potton reeling.



    British cinema in the 1990s was dominated by stolid bodice rippers and the diffident stutterings of Richard Curtis. Aside, that is, from Trainspotting, a serendipitous moment when script, cast, photography, music and marketing conspired to create a movie that left audiences reeling as though from a headbutt.

    With a cover proclaiming it to be the “best book ever written by man or woman�, Irvine Welsh’s tale of skagaddled Edinburgh youth was an immediate cult hit on its publication in 1993. Movie sharks circled hungrily, but when John Hodge first considered adapting the novel, he was struck by its unsuitability for the screen. Although rammed to the gills with vivid personalities and white-knuckle incident, it had no plot.



    Hodge and Danny Boyle, his savvy Mancunian director, originally flirted with Robert Altman-style overlapping stories. Ultimately, though, they had the audacity to fashion a linear narrative with Mark Renton, the novel’s most articulate commentator, as its anti-hero, and cast a star of their previous hit, Shallow Grave. Ewan McGregor could spike veins, insert suppositories and remove condoms with a sexy nonchalance, but could also act as a foil for his more lurid associates: the amoral Sick Boy, the psychopathic Begbie and the luckless Spud.



    Sex, drugs and popular culture provided the outlet for their working-class frustrations, but Boyle’s biggest achievement was making us feel that we were experiencing the peaks and troughs of that trusted troika. He made innovative use of British and American pop songs, whose rights were secured partly thanks to David Bowie’s vocal admiration for the script. Each track subtly signposted the film’s 1980s-to-1990s chronology: Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life accompanied Renton’s opening anti-consumerist call-to-arms, while his climactic about-turn was set to Damon Albarn’s Closet Romantic.



    Aided by this fearsome musical arsenal, and no doubt inspired by Quentin Tarantino, Boyle switched with breathtaking speed from macabre humour to sickening tragedy to full-blown fantasy without once losing his footing. Indeed, test audiences’ only complaint was that the film was over too quickly: a 90-minute blitzkrieg of scenes that are as flab-free as McGregor’s torso became after two months’ abstinence from beer and fried food.



    Trainspotting failed to launch an avalanche of ground-breaking Brit flicks, while Boyle’s bubble deflated with his misjudged follow-up, A Life Less Ordinary. But for a few brief months, Britain � or more precisely, Scotland � could boast the world’s hippest, brashest and most exciting movie

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Al:

    Prior to this my favourite film was Oliver (1968). (Sad but true)


    There is nothing sad about that fact. "Oliver!" was my favourite film until I saw "Sid and Nancy" and the same reasons you have for "Trainspotting" (which ranks up there in the Top 10, Top 5 British) I still have for S&N -- even after nearly 17 years. So good on ya!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Oliver was and still is one of my favourite movies, just thinking of Ron Moody makes me smile. He even got a standing ovation in the press viewing after "Be Back Soon"

    Favourite films are like our friends and partners, they may not be perfect but we love them anyway.

    regards

    Freddy

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    Has anyone read Irvine Welsh's follow-up 'Porno'? If so, do you think that it'd make a great film, with the same four actors playing Renton, Begbie, Spud and Sick Boy?



    I do and I'd love to see it made into a film. It would mean Mssrs McGregor and Carlyle going back to the roles that made them the megastars that they are today.

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    Originally posted by red squirrel@Sep 9 2005, 07:17 PM

    Has anyone read Irvine Welsh's follow-up 'Porno'? If so, do you think that it'd make a great film, with the same four actors playing Renton, Begbie, Spud and Sick Boy?
    Plenty of people do, including Robert Carlyle and Danny Boyle.



    Unfortunately, Boyle and Ewan McGregor are apparently still not speaking to each other following the row over The Beach (for which Boyle cast Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead instead of McGregor) - so until that's resolved, Porno is staying on the bookshelf.

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    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Best left alone methinks, unless Danny Boyle is in desperate need of a project I can't see it happening, and to be honest I'm not sure I'd want to.

  9. #9
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    Must-have movies: Trainspotting (1996)



    Marc Lee reviews a classic that every film-lover will want to own



    Danny Boyle's adrenaline rush of a movie is an extraordinary achievement: a story of squalid, low-life drug addiction that is realistic, responsible and - apart from one almost unbearably painful moment involving a baby - very, very funny.



    At its heart are a bunch of idiots who display all the selfishness, deviousness, disloyalty and unreliability of smack-heads who can see no further than their next hit; yet at least two of them - Renton (Ewan McGregor) and Spud (Ewen Bremner) - are, ultimately, likeable characters. We come to care what happens to them.



    Only the short-fused psychopath Begbie (incidentally, the only non-user in the gang) is without redeeming qualities. But then Robert Carlyle's thrilling ferocity in the role makes it one of the most memorable performances in recent British cinema.



    The film opens with a thundering, heart-stopping flourish as the lads career down Edinburgh's Princes Street pursued by security guards after a botched shoplifting expedition. Iggy Pop's Lust For Life roars furiously on the soundtrack, Renton recites - in voice-over - his sneering "choose life, choose a job, choose a big f***ing television" speech, and we're thrust immediately into a turbulent, troubled and terrifying world.



    The grim realities of life as an addict are explored unflinchingly, although we're often invited to laugh at the gang's antics: Renton's difficulties getting a hit via a suppository and his subsequent visit to "the worst toilet in Scotland" are a triumph of surreal visual invention. Later, a desperate trip to his supplier is shot with comparable verve as he drops frog-like into the room, and then sinks dreamily through the carpet as the effects of the heroin take hold.



    When tragedy finally catches up with the gang, the mood of the film changes. Renton escapes to London and a job as an estate agent, only to be followed by his mates who want him to fund a drug deal. Happily, it all ends badly for Begbie; for Renton and Spud, the future might just offer some hope.



    The script, by John Hodge from Irvine Welsh's 1993 novel, sparkles throughout; the photography is relentlessly urgent; and the performances are uniformly impressive (it's McGregor's best film; and Kelly Macdonald makes an unforgettable big-screen debut as a very naughty schoolgirl). Behaviour as sad, stupid and self-destructive as this really shouldn't be so much fun to watch.

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    The thing that thrilled me about 'Trainspotting' when I first went to see it was that it felt like a film about real people living real lives. I was sick of Hollywood blockbusters which bid for my sympathy with characters who only ever had one problem at a time, and that usually one which could have been solved in five minutes by anyone with half a brain (don't invite the creepy guy to move in; hang up the phone; close the curtains at night; be honest about that affair; etc.) - otherwise they lived slick, cushioned lives where money was never a worry and nobody ever got ill. 'Trainspotting' was about poverty, social exclusion, and the camaraderie which goes with it and gets people through; it was about people I might easily have known inhabiting a familiar world. It was immensely refreshing.



    As someone who has taken plenty of drugs (though I've never been an addict, and I don't really do much these days - I've enough hassle dealing with the side effects of prescription medication), I have to say that the drug-related scenes were spot on - especially Spud's speed-addled job interview. My friends and I were delighted to see a director finally get it right, and to see people being honest about drug-related issues. My American girlfriend (the one who revealed to me that the scene involving the first day of the Edinburgh festival had been cut from the US version) said that, given the state of drug education over there (which all follows the line that ignorance equals abstinence), it was the first time she'd seen anyone admit that drugs can be fun whilst acknowledging that they can also do enormous personal and social damage. Normally it's the state on one side and pushers (or, since they're not really all that common, more often wide-eyed teenaged drug evangelists) on the other, with any hope of a balanced viewpoint absent from the outset. Even here, it's really hard for most young people to get information about what different drugs are and how they can reduce the risks if they've decided to take them anyway. This is part of what glamourises drug use; 'Trainspotting' did a lot to break down that alluring mystique.



    Few films which take on big social issues like this do it with as much energy as 'Trainspotting'. It appealed because it was honest, a long awaited shout in the stifling silence, but also because of its vivacity and charm. This was nicely undercut by the character of Begbie, the sort of familiar day to day psychopath who's worth a thousand of the usual repressed Hollywood Englishmen when it comes to actually being scary. Begbie's power came from the fact that one could bump into the likes of him any day of the week. The awkward social position in which he placed Renton was beautifully observed, like so many of the film's little vignettes.



    Jennie

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    I thought I started this thread?! 'Tis a great shame that Boyle and McGregor are not on speaking terms to make Porno. *Not* having done drugs, but having lived - or 'stayed' as they say - in Edinburgh, to me Begbie was by far the most credible character, right down to the Pringle sweater and white socks. His speech was more working-class than that of Renton or Sick Boy, ken. In fact Edinburgh is full of Begbies, Jambos as well as Hibees.

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    Originally posted by Jennie_Kermode@Sep 11 2005, 02:06 PM

    The thing that thrilled me about 'Trainspotting' when I first went to see it was that it felt like a film about real people living real lives.
    I felt that way about the book and Harry Gibson's stage adaptation, both of which I'd read/seen before I saw the film on its opening weekend... and I was a trifle disappointed, to tell you the truth.



    I think part of the problem was that the film generally failed to duplicate the extraordinary linguistic versatility and multiple viewpoints of the novel - which Gibson's version thrived on: he staged it as a series of monologues, so we not only got Renton's point of view but also that of all the other major characters. By focusing on Renton alone, the film certainly had more narrative coherence, but on balance I think it lost more than it gained: the female characters in particular were reduced to little more than ciphers.



    But had I seen it without all that earlier preparation, I would probably have felt very differently: I can certainly appreciate the film's impact, and would agree that it was largely deserved.

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    This has to be one of the greatest all time british films.



    I never get tired of watching it.

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    Trainspotting is great movie although the subject matter of the movie is something we all hear about everyday, "Drugs" I found it good Ewan McGregor was good at his part.





    the girl that plays diane is married to dougie payne of scottish band Travis.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    How John Hodge wrote the Trainspotting screenplay

    Interview by Tim Teeman



    John Hodge was born in 1964. He won a Bafta and was nominated for an Oscar for his Trainspotting (1996) script. His screenplays include Shallow Grave (1994) and The Beach (2001).



    Shallow Grave was my first screenplay, Trainspotting my second. Andrew Macdonald [the producer] gave me Irvine Welsh�s book. It was very good, but it was hard to think how it could be a film. There�s no story, it�s a collection of anecdotes and short stories. The challenge was to make it a narrative without imposing too much structure.



    Renton (Ewan McGregor) was the main voice, and I realised he would be the guide. I chose my favourite bits of the book, wrote down in what order they might appear, then that expanded into a script. My advice would be to write a few scenes that you find easy to visualise, really quickly. Keep moving. Don�t get it right, get it down. Don�t labour over scenes or get bogged down.



    The first draft took five months, the second six weeks. I went to a few rehearsals but didn�t hang around on set. You have to let the director have control. It wasn�t without its arguments, but Trainspotting worked well because everyone was working in the same direction. Dennis Potter, I think, once said an actor in Gorky Park had been an �oar out of the water�, meaning disruptive � there was none of that.



    My favourite scene is the one that has become famous, where Renton disappears down the toilet. I was just looking for an interesting way to finish a scene and Danny [Boyle, the director], Andrew [Macdonald] and I didn�t want to make the stock, pious, po-faced drama about drugs. This wasn�t going to be a preaching film. The humour of the characters was going to be surprising. It generated strong reactions.



    Success does bring pressure but it also leads on to the next job. I didn�t do a screenwriting course. I trained and qualified, but never practised as a doctor. To get into screenwriting you need to be lucky and persevering. A good writing course will help you only if you have a talent. Once you�re in, there are a few genius screenwriters, there are a few who are terrible and the rest of us, the 95 per cent, who make the effort to deliver. I�m working on Young Stalin. A biographical subject is new for me.



    It�s not a great job if you�re an egotistical artist. Occasionally, I wonder if I should be a doctor and I�ve worked on things that haven�t worked out � The Beach was well done, though it had a lot of people pulling it in different directions � but you do what you�re paid to do.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: England Captain Casper's Avatar
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    Superb book and a worthy adaptation into film. Spud's speed interview was mesmerising and just coherent enough to be believable. Jonny Lee Miller was brilliant as Sick Boy although this film appeared to be the springboard for all the leads to take the next step, including Kelly McDonald who is superb in "No Country For Old Men".



    Pity "Porno" may never be filmed, the book is highly recommended.

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    Yes i have to admit, Trainspotting is an amazing film, sad, disgusting, funny, well about every emotion going really.

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    Filmmakers on film: Shekhar Kapur on Trainspotting



    Last Updated: 12:01am BST 28/06/2008



    Shekhar Kapur, director of Badit Queen, Elizabeth and Four Feathers, explains to Marc Lee why he could never have made Elizabeth had it not been for Trainspotting



    Danny Boyle's Trainspotting and Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth are two of the most memorable British films of the Nineties, both shot with eye-catching verve, both featuring a riveting central performance. Yet, as cinematic experiences, they could hardly be more different: one drags us through the sordid lives of a bunch of drug-addled losers, the other sweeps us into the court of the Virgin Queen. Nevertheless, Kapur insists he could never have made his film had it not been for Trainspotting.



    Boyle's adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel (Oscar-nominated screenplay by John Hodge) is the story of heroin user Renton (Ewan McGregor) and his similarly distracted gang of mates, living on the margins of society in Edinburgh. Renton tries to kick the habit early in the film but fails; later he heads for London and respectability, but even there he can't escape his past.



    However, the plot of Trainspotting is secondary to its unflinching depiction of lives made wonderful by drugs and simultaneously wrecked by them. It has a remarkable raw energy throughout, and while much of what happens is horrible, much of it is scabrously funny, too.



    Among the most memorable sequences is Renton's attempt to go cold turkey in which he nails planks over the door of his room, having stocked up with food supplies, a TV and a series of buckets for urine, faeces and vomit. Then there's the appalling moment in which he is swallowed by "the worst toilet in Scotland" as he tries to retrieve a lost stash, and the scene that perfectly describes the ecstasy of a hit as his eyes roll back and he literally sinks through the floor.



    So how does all this connect with the queenly life of the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn? Kapur begins by explaining how he came to direct Elizabeth. "I was sitting in a hotel in Los Angeles and [the producer] Tim Bevan came to me and said, 'Would you make Elizabeth?' And I thought what an adventurous idea, what an adventurous producer, because I had no knowledge of history. All I knew about her was that she was the Renaissance Queen, the Virgin Queen. I found myself saying yes just for the adventure of it. Then I thought better of it and called Tim and said, 'Look, I'm in two minds. The costume drama is one of my least favourite film genres.'?"

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    However, Kapur had another change of heart the next day, telling Bevan there was only one British film he'd seen recently that really carried him away, and that was Trainspotting. Could he, Kapur asked, take the Trainspotting approach to a costume drama? The answer was yes. "And so I did. Trainspotting freed me up from the strictures of Western cinema. I found it an incredibly liberating film. It was a film that lived on the edge of the current grammar of filmmaking - and then broke through.



    "It wasn't that I tried to emulate anything in Trainspotting. It just helped me break this anxiety I had that I was coming from India, I'd never shot a film overseas before, and I'd have to confine myself to what a British film should be.



    "Once I got into shooting it, my filmmaking roots kicked in - the colours, the non-fear of melodrama. Trainspotting is a very melodramatic film, but that synchs perfectly with the lives of these people."



    That melodrama is matched by the surreal imagery Boyle employs. One unsettling scene has a baby crawling on the ceiling. "That was horrific, but it was hypnotic. You are repulsed by it, but you never disconnect from it. It never stopped being cinematic."



    This kind of filmmaking, says Kapur, has a Dali-esque quality. "It touches on something mythic, something in your subconscious."



    What did he make of the controversy surrounding the film? "I don't think it was pro-drugs. It was a brilliant insight into the lives of people who take drugs. It wasn't moralistic, but I don't think anybody could have watched it and thought, 'Great - that's what I want to do.' Quite the contrary.



    "Trainspotting is one of those films - Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange is another - that we can look back on now and realise just how challenging it was dramatically. They're both films that come from completely brilliant minds."

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    quite possibly the best film to ever come out of the uk. well put together and a fantastic soundtrack. i must have seen this film over 50 times in my life

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    While not a favourite of mine one cannot deny the power, style and content of this very well made film.

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