I saw trainspotting again last nite .. i think it was like the third or fourth time. I dont really remember the number of times ive seen movies, especially movies like this that are incredible and i know im going to end up seeing hundreds of times.
This is a film that works on every single level.
If you want to talk dumb about it- its purrrrrty.... Almost looks like an old pulp comic or something with its gratuitous use of insane-o colors (and ..scotland)..plus all the crazy surrealist moments (ever see a dude swim in a toilet?), all of which are done exceedingly well, never ever ever, not for one second, does this film bore- even when its supposed to bore you. Its soooo pretty.
If youre talking to people who know film or story or anything like that, you can compliment this film on a higher level. The characters are amazing in his film- all of them totally 100% human. I, as well as everyone else im sure, have seen plenty of films where theres a principal character or narrator that seems dynamic because he changes but really ends up just being two dimensional in a world of one dimensional characters... this is my problem with star wars. Star wars nerds think they have something great, but all they have is eye candy and cliche;) ... At any rate, every single character in this film is so real that you almost feel like the writers based it on real people...i mean... you, yes YOU, know these people.... sure they happen to be addicted to smack, but thats not it, thats not the crux of everything. Theyre so real that instantly, instantly, you identify with them. From the first shot you see to the last. Plus theres a whole mess of visual metaphors that go completely unnoticed the first time around. And also, this film gives hardcore beatles fans hardcore orgasms. But thats a different story entirely.
Which brings me to my next point...If youre feeling frisky... and if youre talking to extremely pretentious film folk, or film folk who consider themselvse film folk above all else... you can compliment this movie on things much much higher up. The cinematography is gorgeous- every single second of this film plays gorgeously as a still frame, so much so that they had to shoot new pictures for the promotional materials. The direction is absolutely genius. You cant understand what the characters are saying some of the time because theyre Scotish and your/my americanized perspectives cant handle it sometimes (the first quarter of the movie was redubbed for American release because of the thick accents, and theres a scene where there are subtitles...I think its a reference to Annie Hall, but it could be the same reason), some of the time because youre not supposed to understand them (lots of fun drunken babbling in the film). .... but the whole time, you know exactly whats happening. Thats good direction.
Beyond that the casting is absolutely, absolutely, absolutely PERfect....so much so that even if youre not a pretentious Film Person, you can notice and appreciate it...every person was perfect for the character they played. The best thing about this film, in my opinion, is that it is completely and refreshingly devoid of pretension. Nothing in this film is a Film Event... theres not any willing suspension of disbelief. This could happen and probaby did happen, exactly as it did. Granted there are parts that are surreal, but theyre wholly metaphorical.
Problems with this film?
There are visual metaphors you miss the first time around... thats not a problem. The problem is that the second time around they seem really really ham-handed. Esepcially some of the character development scenes. All of it plays beautifully and seems wholly natural, but if youve got a keen eye to that sort of thing....one of the things i hate most in films is CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT...if youre a person whos seen lots of films you know what i mean, but im going to explain it anyway.
I cant do it with trainspotting for fear of a spolier....
Im talking about blatantly obvious things that characters say that are character devlopment...like..long setups for this one character to reveal something about themselves. Whats a film I can think of that most people have seen? ...
I dont know.
See trainspotting and ask me which scene im talking about if youre really that curious...its exactly 1 scene that im talking about. ...the scene where Renton talks about scotland, when theyre on the bridge. Blatant visual metaphor, blatant character development....
And I personally think its hamhanded on purpose.... so its not really a criticism but something I wouldve done differently myself. It didnt need to be like that.....
I mean... the camera is put up really really really close- almost in extreme-closeup- of McGregors face when hes delivering those lines.
Other problems? ... I doubt any of those people ever did smack. And I never did. And I dont know any smack addicts. So as far as how true it is? ...I dont know personally. To me, though, it was totally believable.
Either way, this is definitely another 5 star film. And for those of you who are watching keenly and think that all the films i review get five stars- wait for my next post;)
Definitely not one you want to watch several times in a row though.... Its just about as depressing as requiem for a dream.
But thats a story for another day.