Daily Archives: August 2, 1996


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 »

Red Lotus Society

Red Lotus Society

A thrilling and multifaceted 1994 Taiwanese feature by theater director Stan Lai about both vaulting–the Chinese martial art of leaping enormous distances–and contemporary Taipei. The mysterious persistence of the past in the present combines with Lai’s visually impressive style–along with the work of Chris Doyle, the key cinematographer of the Taiwanese and Hong Kong new wave–combine to make this one of the best recent Taiwanese features I’ve seen. With Ying Zhaode, Chen Wenming, Nai Weixun, and Li Tongcun. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, August 3, 3:30, and Sunday, August 4, 4:00, 443-3737.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from Red Lotus Society.… Read more »