Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18
UK release date: 23rd February 1996
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 9th January 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is Danny Boyle’s second feature film and I must admit that by the time I’d seen this one I was convinced he was Scottish. Fortunately I know better now. This one’s all about drug addiction and the consequences of it. Sounds a drag, but believe me, it’s one of the most entertaining films you’ll ever see! But more on my thoughts later, here’s a very brief summary first (summary haters please go cold turkey in the back room while I write the next paragraph).
Set, for the main part, in Scotland, this film tells the story of Renton and his friends, Spud, Sick Boy, Tommy and Begbie. It tells of their flirtations with heroin and all that brings. How they rip each other off, ruin each other’s relationships, get high, get low, get sick, get off the drug, get back on it again… it’s all here. Eventually Renton decides to get off it entirely and moves to London, but that is far from the end of it. I’m going to leave it deliberately brief and vague because this is a dish best served without too much prior knowledge my friend.
First of all, it’s a great script by John Hodge based on the novel by Irvine Welsh; add to that the directorial skill of Danny Boyle and you have a bit of a masterpiece on your hands. There are times where things do get a bit surreal, but I think it all adds to the brilliant execution of this tale. Really great performances all round, particularly from; Ewan McGregor as Renton, Ewen Bremner as Spud, Jonny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, Kevin McKidd as Tommy and Robert Carlyle as the psycho, Begbie.
There are scenes in this film that are quite hard to watch but I believe it is all included to show just how real the effects of drug addiction are. There is also a lot of humour in this film which, kind of, plays against the grain in a couple of places, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much. Over all, with an iconic soundtrack, some great performances, a tremendous script and some brilliant filmmaking, this one is very, very highly recommended.
My score: 9.2/10
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0117951/