By Kit Macdonald



Published on February 1, 2024

It's a huge testament to Danny Boyle's skill as a filmmaker that his big-screen adaptation of Irvine Welsh's 1993 novel about a group of Edinburgh heroin addicts stands up so brilliantly nearly three decades after its release. In lesser hands many aspects that became shorthand for mid-90s popular culture itself (Renton's "choose life" and "it's shite being Scottish" monologues, the liberal use of Underworld's Born Slippy) might have passed into the realm of cliche and cringe long ago. Not so: the whole film still pulses with reckless energy and sharpness, and also stands as a time-capsule of a certain moment in Scotland's capital.

It's also testament to Boyle that Trainspotting is still such an enjoyable watch despite the dispiriting (but accurate) perspective Welsh offered in an interview with the Guardian last year.

“The horrible thing is that Trainspotting was supposed to be a cautionary tale in some ways," Welsh said. "But now, 30 years on, you can’t really see it that way any more. You can’t really say to the kids in the schemes [Scottish council estates]: don’t do drugs, they’ll wreck your life, you’ll never get a job or a house or buy nice things. People can’t get jobs. People will never buy a house. They can’t buy nice things. Everything is fucked even if you’re not on drugs."

February 17, 2024
Opening hours
23:00 – 00:30