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Trainspotting

Danny Boyle's explosive 1996 film tracks the misadventures of young men (played by a cast that includes Ewan MacGregor, Robert Carlyle and Jon Lee Miller) trying to find their way out of joblessness, aimless relationships and drug addiction. Some are successful, while others are hopelessly not. Based on Irvine Walsh's novel, Trainspotting melds grit with poetry, resulting in a film of harsh truths and stunning grace.
HD Available
Netflix Rating: 3.8
NYT Critics' Pick
Heroin addicts in Edinburgh. Cheerfully outrageous. Read the review
Rotten Tomatoes: Fresh 89%
Critics' score: 89   Audience score: 92   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

THE experience of watching Trainspotting -- the electric, nasty and slick descent into the milieu of young Scottish junkies -- is a little like speeding through the digestive tract of some voracious beast. full review

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

A few patches are subtitled, but the general effect is of watching an opera without having read the libretto.

Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic

Trainspotting is a singular sensation, a visionary knockout spiked with insight, wild invention and outrageous wit.

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Exuberant and pitiless, profane yet eloquent, flush with the ability to create laughter out of unspeakable situations, "Trainspotting" is a drop-dead look at a dead-end lifestyle that has all the strength of its considerable contradictions. full review

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

It would be pushing it to call Trainspotting a serious work of art or a major statement about anything, but as an edgy, artful piece of entertainment it beats any Hollywood release of the summer by miles. full review

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

This isn't an examination of the Scottish drug culture from the outside looking in, it's one from the inside looking out. full review

James Berardinelli, ReelViews

The movie tags at the heels of Edinburgh social dropouts Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie, for whom getting off beats getting out. full review

Desson Thomson, Washington Post

Hip, brutally honest and humane... full review

Charles Taylor, Salon.com

You stop cringing and start smiling, laughing even, and these kids, who seem like aliens at first, grow on you. They're weirdly likable. full review

Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee

The movie has been attacked as pro-drug and defended as anti-drug, but actually it is simply pragmatic. It knows that addiction leads to an unmanageable, exhausting, intensely uncomfortable daily routine, and it knows that only two things make it bearable full review

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

For better or worse, sometimes strictly for the sake of shock value, the stylish irreverence of "Trainspotting" mimics that drug high and delivers its own potent kick. full review

Janet Maslin, New York Times

This is not dour social realism. It's a shot- from-a-cannon youth movie, with likable young people sticking needles in their arms in working-class Edinburgh. full review

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

...rapid-fire youth-culture freak show: random sex, in-your-face scatology, senseless violence and rampant profanity delivered in haggis-thick brogues.

Mike Clark, USA Today
full review by Susan Stark, Detroit News
full review by David Ansen, Newsweek
full review by Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Weekly
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