From the Chicago Reader (August 2, 1996). — J.R.
Rating *** A must see
Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by John Hodge
With Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, and Susan Vidler.
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. That isn’t much of a compliment. The awfulness of the current crop of “big” (i.e., extensively advertised) summer movies has been so unprecedented that when people ask me how I could find anything halfway nice to say about The Rock and Independence Day, I can only refer them to the even worse dreck they were fortunate enough to miss. Context changes everything: at Cannes, where I first saw Trainspotting, there were at least nine other movies I liked more, and perhaps another seven or eight I liked as much. But in the context of commercial movies this summer, the film unquestionably shines.
Adapted from a 1993 novel by Irvine Welsh, who has a cameo in the movie as a drug dealer, Trainspotting was created by the same team that turned out the much less interesting Shallow Grave: producer Andrew Macdonald, director Danny Boyle, writer John Hodge, lead actor Ewan McGregor, and the same cinematographer, production designer, and editor.… Read more »