Rough hewn portrait of youths in Scotland, and their nihilistic ways of sex, drugs, and crime. Ewan McGregor plays Mark Renton, the centerpiece of the film. Renton, like many of the other characters, is a heroin addict who knows his life is in freefall, but he doesn’t care. He spends most of his time in the company of his friends: Spud (Ewen Bremner), an even more pathetic version of Renton. Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) is the Sean Connery obsessed, ladies man of the bunch. Tommy (Kevin McKidd) is the only one of the five who lives a clean lifestyle, his only flaw is that he never lies. Finally, there’s Begbie (Robert Carlyle), the psychopathic alcoholic. There’s not so much of a strong narrative as a series of viginettes, strung together by Renton’s narration. They range from the fantastically surreal, to the hillarious, to the downright disgusting. The film captures the highs and lows of drug use, particularly with heroin. Although the film doesn’t actively encourage drug use, it doesn’t actively discourage it either, instead opting for the carefree/careless attitude of its protagonists. In fact, that attitude is one of the weaknesses of the film…it doesn’t really have anything to say. It’s all attitude, and little substance. Still, its attitude is catchy at times, filled with humor and sparks of energy.
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