In the winter of 2012, I was very deeply involved with The Big Bang Theory. I know, I know. It’s not related but hear me out. So, I used to binge watch TBBT and I used to love Sheldon(I am saying “used to” because now TBBT is just pure shite) and his love for trains. AH! Now you get it don’t you? Yes, I thought this movie will be about trains and on finding out that there are only 2 scenes with trains, I was deeply disappointed and rated this gem of a movie 2 stars out of 10 on Imdb.
Now, over the years I have watched a lot of Danny Boyle’s movies(Sunshine, 127 Hours, Trance, Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs) and I just love his direction. As the sequel to Trainspotting is coming out this March, I thought about giving it a try because now I am a big boy and I loved it. Before getting into the philosophical aspect of the movie, let me get over the technical aspects. So, shall we?
You have to accept this fact that when you’re stepping into a Danny Boyle movie, you have to expect the unexpected. He doesn’t follow convention or tradition and he likes to experiment a lot. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t but when they do, the end result is just revolutionary. Everyone wants to know how he did it and everyone wants a piece of it. That said, this is the one of the best hallucination inducing movies I have ever seen and this was made in 1996. If I would have seen this in 1996, I would have lost my mind completely.
Now, don’t be misguided by the fact that this movie is about drugs. It is about drugs but not in order to glorify it in any way. It’s to show what happens when you have too much of it and the sequences that show the effect that drugs have on the human brain are extremely accurate. In a way it is haunting. The camera-work and editing in the scene where Mark(Ewan McGregor) is recuperating is just mind-blowing. I haven’t been on heroin but the depiction was similar to the time when I had very high fever. That’s the closest I can get to experiencing something like that. I just lost it in that sequence.
In most movies which deal with drug related problems, these scenes are only confined to the patient crying and whimpering. That doesn’t allow the audience to get into the mind of the patient. Danny Boyle just yanks your hand and shows you instead of shouting from a distance that “DRUGS ARE BAD!”
The story is pretty normal and by normal I mean very life-like. Random, chaotic and everything is just happening. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t but that is life isn’t it? Recently, I saw a movie called American Honey which was mostly like this. It was recommended by a friend and you know how much I trust my friends. That movie fell apart like a tower of cards. Now this is where Irvine Welsh and John Hodge’s writing skills come into play. However chaotic it may look like, there is a pattern in it. They keep the theme intact and they keep the protagonist the main ingredient of the theme or the thematic changes. Every other character changes as Mark changes and that makes it easier for the audience to follow. We are seeing Mark’s life unfold, through Mark’s eyes via random situations but as we are seeing it through his perspective, the randomness starts to make sense. Marks’s love for his friends, for his family, for drugs, everything just adds up.
The humour in the movie is pretty good. Most of them are situational humour. I can’t pin-point on one single hilarious situation because all of them were hilarious in their own helpless way. The friendship angle was handled beautifully. He knew they were a bad influence but he still hung on to them because they were the only people around and the first opportunity that he got, he just bailed without even thinking twice. And it even felt justified because every time he tried to get away from the needle, it always found it’s back to him. So, when they began to pile on Mark and forced him to take one more shot for the team, he realised that they don’t want him to go clean and the only way out is out.
Performance wise everybody was impeccable. I have always loved Ewan McGregor and I think he is really under-rated. Here’s to wishing that we get a solo Obi Wan Kenobi movie, with McGregor in all his Jedi glory. The most impressionable was Robert Carlyle as Begbie. I mean I would have loved to pick a fight with his character just for the fun of it.
FINAL VERDICT – Now why does this movie resonate with some people, while to others, and I quote, “is an over-rated piece of garbage”. I’ll tell you why. Just like the characters in the movie, you as a person have to experience the lows in order to savour the highs and you have to experience the highs in order to tackle the lows. Life isn’t fair. It might seem fair if you live in a 4 by 4 cubicle, taking selfies and quoting human rights instead of facing real problems because real problems will help you be a human when that hangover starts to wear off on that Monday. You may make so-called friends, who will laugh with you, enjoy with you but won’t be there when you need ’em. You have to make friends with whom you can laugh and enjoy and take that last swig of the joint before the sun rises. You have to do all of it in order to live because it’s only one life. The people who choose to live life in that cubicle and ignore death, anger, love, euphoria, the taste of blood when you have your first fist fight, your first random kiss, your first ever apology, only they can call this movie an over-rated piece of garbage.
For those who have watched this movie or will watch this movie, I’ll just leave you with this quote from the movie:
Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up rats you spawned to replace yourself.
CHOOSE YOUR FUTURE. CHOOSE LIFE.
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