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Trainspotting - second viewing

I just watched Trainspotting again. Believe it or not, I had only seen it once before, but between my recent ruminations about Danny Boyle and thee sequel coming out, I thought I had better give it a second watch. What I just found myself watching, however, wasn't quite the film I had expected to see. I had prepared myself for something gritty, hard-hitting and real; something about the dark, violent world inhabited by heroin users. Yet, to me, something about Boyle's film did not ring true this time around: what it was trying to depict was not what it was depicting. The characters, especially the narrator Renton, all seemed too articulate and self aware. There seemed to be a sort of irony at the core of the film, and I can't decide whether it was intentional or not: these people were supposed to be down and out, scum of the earth, on the fringes of society; yet they spoke and made references as if they had been to university. They had a bourgeois feel to them, even though we are supposed to see them as vermin. Was this irony deliberate? Was boyle trying to make a statement? I found myself fascinated by this question, this tension. It's as if the director is reminding us that we're watching a film. Boyle could have made these characters far more gritty, far more real, but instead he gave them a self-awareness one does not find in real smack-heads. They thus loose some of their authenticity, but was that intentional? And if so, what was the point Boyle was trying to make?


[Edited 09/04/2017 at 19:08:27 - added a bit]

Comments

Wow. Using the word "smack-head" and saying they aren't self aware. Thats offensive. I think you're completely mis-reading the film and what its about. By the way in the book, Renton had been to university and dropped out.

please clarify, how am I misreading the film? care to expand?

It's not meant to be hard hitting or gritty. It's heavily stylised with lengthy moments of surrealism and is in many ways a comedy. There is little about the film that says hard hitting or gritty. IMO it is a film more about friendship, but maybe that comes from reading Welshs novels.

Once again you are right Steve. I bow down to your greatness.

Matthew Goodsell

Basically, yes: you are obviously far more learned about this text than I am, so I was deferring to your authority.

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