BFI Classics: Trainspotting

Author: Murray Smith

Has it been over 15 years since Trainspotting was released! Has it been that long since this film kicked off a whole trend of Brit indies from Twin Town to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It has indeed, but the film is no less important now – and has rightly joined the BFI’s family of modern classics.

We are given the Oxford English Dictionary definition of train-spotter at the start of this book. And you won’t be surprised by the definition. But we are then giving the definition to main-Line – the third of which refers to the vein in which drugs can be injected.  Anyone else still wondering about the title of the film?  Good.

The book continues to example definitions by the fact that the term train-spotter has leapt from that of contempt to the corner of cool after the release of the film.  So this is Trainspotting as social movement, not just media entertainment. Di the novelist, screenwriter, director or even the producer know what they were onto when each of them worked on this project?

 Author, Murray Smith seeks to observe this through the time that the film came out and the rise of instant cult appeal for movies in the 90’s to the comparison with art forms (obviously including music as it is such a bit part of this film) from decades past.

This is a good, if not prime example of the Classics series that guides you through the film and either points out or reminds viewers of the films impact and importance of the time.

Steven Hurst

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