Overall- 8.5 /10
Soundtrack- 8 /10
Characters- 9 /10
Creativity – 8 /10 (this can included originality, shock value, plot twist and devices)
So this is my first film review, and it is really very fitting that I start with one of my own personal favourites. This film is very near and dear to me as it was a film I watched (and still do watch) with terrifying regularity. To me this film gives the viewer a look into a lifestyle free from responsibility in the traditional sense and yet has stakes higher than the ones we usually encounter. From the soundtrack, to the characters, to the cinematography and visual imagery this film offers such a comprehensively unnerving peek into another world that the escapism offered is to my mind it is about as close to perfection as almost any film can get.
While this may seem like the rant and ramblings of a fan girl I do feel it important to stress that the topics and messages found in this film are really very gritty, rather grim and oddly relateable. The film unlike the book (written by Irvine Welsh) focuses on one character- Renton – and his interactions with various other characters; most importantly with Heroin, who as Sick boy says has a “great personality”. While the drug world my be a million miles off from our day to day lives there are many aspects of Renton’s life that are whole heartedly relevant to all of us. One overarching theme is that of belonging and loyalty. Without spoiling the storyline I can tell you that he struggles with guilt from several deaths and grapples with loyalty to himself over that of his family and friends. I do feel it is fair to mention Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Renton. His commitment to this role is amassing and quite ahead of it’s time. While now we are getting used to actors and actresses pushing their bodies to the extremes for roles he really pioneered this method of acting; by shaving his hair prior to getting the role and dropping a alarming amount of body fat that he maybe should have kept in reserve. More recent commitments of this kind are Anne Hathaway who shaved her head for Les Mis and Christian bale who dropped so much body fat for his role in the machinist.
Basically this film may not be for everyone but if you can stand some uncomfortable senses and ideas then you should really give this film a shot. It does depict images of drug use (obviously), senses of a sexual nature and some really very disturbing and upsetting stuff (who else was show the toilet scene as a kid to scare them away from drugs?). However it is the films hard hitting nature that makes it stand out for me. Even if you don’t want to watch the whole thing just the opening “choose Life” speech is worth a listen (it is on YouTube). Also if this film makes you want more then as I said there is the book and a stage show. Fun fact Ewen Bremner who plays Daniel “Spud” Murphy played Renton in one of the stage show production and was passed up by Danny Boyle for that role.
This is my favourite song from the first volume of the Soundtrack (yes there are two volumes).