Scarlett Worthington’s review published on Letterboxd:
Apolly loggies my brothers, finishing first year became very hectic so I’ve been too busy to watch and review anything but I’m back and will hopefully be able to watch and review a lot more again, I have been feeling quite deprived.
Here I will attempt to finally give my favourite film the review it deserves.
Trainspotting was one of the main films I watched that solidified me becoming a proper cinephile, so that association may be the main reason why it remains my favourite. But also I have seen about 300 films approximately, since watching Trainspotting and it has remained on top, not out of stubbornness but because I genuinely think nothing else has matched it. This all seems quite odd, a film about Scottish heroin addicts, how could that have such a profound effect on someone? The answer is I’m not entirely sure but I will try to explain why.
This film packs a punch right from the beginning, as soon as Lust For Life starts playing and you hear the first “choose life…” you’re just in it and there’s no going back (sitting in the cinema and waiting for the beat to drop was just ah words can’t explain it). Everything just grabs your attention, you genuinely can’t take your eyes off the screen, even when you’re looking at something that’s actually pretty gross. Even though this is probably one of the most gritty and dirty films out there, it’s also probably the only one where there’s a real attraction in that dirtiness. The filth is the style of the film which is reflective of the substance of the film, which in some weird metaphysical way makes you want to watch more. You choose life, you choose the horrible things that come along with it. Maybe many wouldn’t see the beauty in the horrifying things shown, but I do because it’s real. I’ve mentioned this before when I’ve reviewed British films but I just find authentic grittiness so appealing, which explains why this is my favourite film because it undoubtedly does it the best.
The thing is Trainspotting manages to have a raw grittiness as well as super slick style. So you get the best of both worlds with the typical indie film-making vibe and some mainstream cinema techniques. I do also think this is an underrated technical masterpiece: the cinematography, the music, the editing, it’s all amazing.
However, what we all know Trainspotting for is it’s portrayal of addiction, specifically heroin addiction. Some say this film glamourises drug use, but whoever says that is fucking stupid because if you watch this film and want to try any sort of Class A drug then you must be already on something man. It manages to find a fine line between being brutally truthful all whilst staying quite light-hearted (basically this is isn’t anywhere near Requiem For a Dream levels of depressing). On a quick note, although this film is mainly light-hearted it really does take you on a journey through all the scale of emotions and you ultimately come out feeling in some state of euphoria and glee, this is why I feel dark comedies are the most exposing forms of drama because you get the tough truth. I still find the ending kind of awe-inspiring, that sounds incredibly dramatic but it really hits me in the feels, not what you would expect from a film about Scottish men in the 90s. These aren’t just any Scottish men however, these are Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, Begbie and Tommy. The most detestable yet loveable group of lads you’ll ever meet. They are all terrible people but you love them, you may not empathise with them all but you still love them (talking to you Begbie you brilliant angry fucker you), and that’s of course down to brilliant source material (big up Irvine Welsh), a great script and brilliant actors under brilliant direction. Trainspotting has a lot going for it but it’s the characters who make this film 100%. I don’t need to go into the characters much because they’re just so distinctively brilliant; that’s what makes them great they’re real.
Why do I love this film then? Everything I’ve explained previously seems to just back up that to me this film personifies what it is to be alive. It’s the choices we make, they may be wrong but if it’s what you want then is that really such a bad thing. Life is what we make it. For an acting project I made my own little “Choose Life” piece (titled “Choose Sin” because that’s the stimulus we were given…) I’ll put the link here, I think it personifies what this film means to me and how it’s allowed me to live my life. youtu.be/3o_NyoWpLLI
This is very much a fan review and even though I’ve put some time into trying to write this I really can’t get across why I love Trainspotting so much and what makes it (to me) the best film of all time, which is a shame but take it as a reason to watch it yourself so you can potentially get what I’m trying to say here.
Choose life …