MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3 1/2

This comedy-drama about Scottish drug addicts has been very popular in England, difficult to understand given its stomach-turning subject matter. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) is a young man either loaded on heroin, trying to get more drugs or attempting to kick the habit. He and his "so-called friends" get high in a seedy Edinburgh apartment, then visit night clubs to find sexual partners. Attempts at humor include Renton diving into a filthy toilet to rescue his latest fix. The film has an abrupt shift, however, when a drug-induced stupor results in the tragic neglect of an infant. A bad trip hospitalizes Renton, and his parents lock him in his bedroom to detoxify. These efforts are briefly successful, and Renton even gets a job. But he can't dispose of his "mates," who get him involved in a lucrative drug deal. "I'm going to change" is Renton's refrain, but you sense he's on a lifetime roller coaster ride. Consequently this journey of despair doesn't have a satisfying conclusion. Abhorrent behavior that's supposed to draw laughs is depressing and disgusting, and negates any anti-drug message.

Heroin use is not glamorized, although it's frequent and characterized as considerably more satisfying than an orgasm. Even when Renton has a lapse after quitting, he says "for a moment it felt really great." Everyone pays a price for their addictions -- AIDS, a prison sentence, a near-death episode, loss of a child and betrayal. The tragedy, however, is that no one learns from these experiences. The film has an assault of obscene language, particular the "f-word," used over 140 times. Drug and alcohol use leads to violence. One character revels in barroom brawls and casually tosses a beer stein that hits a woman's head. A night out concludes with graphic sex scenes with explicit nudity, and Renton discovers his partner is in prep school. Two male addicts kiss while high, and a man unknowingly kisses and fondles a transvestite. While it may show the dangers of addictive drug use, the intentions of the film are not so honorable, using some appalling behavior as a source of dark humor. In addition to its graphic sex, nudity and foul language, TRAINSPOTTING is void of any positive elements that would make it worth viewing in any context.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, New York, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (3) times - Moderate 3

Obscene Language: Many (167) times - F-word 141, s-word 15, other 11

Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular 3 (J 1, C1, G 1)

Violence: Several times - Moderate and severe (men assaulted, man's hand slashed, woman hit in head with dropped beer stein, fist fight)

Sex: Couples shown having explicit sex with frontal and rear nudity

Nudity: Male frontal nudity, male rear nudity, female frontal nudity, breast nudity

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Heroin use, drinking, smoking

Other: Excrement-filled sheet splattered on people

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

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