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MattPage

Trainspotting

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Andrew and I were talking about Trainspotting, an it felt that it was a significant enough tangent to justify its own thread.

i think its one of my top ten movies. Certainly not a pleasant movie experience and definitely not one for kids, but I love the honest and realistic exploration it gives of the issue. OK I doj't really no whether its realistic or not having never been a heroin addict, but it appears that they are not glamorising, or glossing ove the issue so I'm prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Plus its humour is good, and you really feel for the characters, there's great camera work, and its a well told story.

I suspect some of you will hate it. Do you?

Matt

PS I heard they had to subtitle some of the early scenes for showing in some parts of the US cos the accents were indecipherable. True? The scene in the nightclub is subtitled on my version, but nothing else (and that's how I remember it from the cinema)

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I loved it. A wild ride. Saw it only once, back when it was new, so I can't summon up anything more specific than that.

Ron

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MattPage wrote:

: I suspect some of you will hate it. Do you?

Nay, I believe it made my top ten for the year. It's definitely one of my faves of the 1990s.

: PS I heard they had to subtitle some of the early scenes for showing in

: some parts of the US cos the accents were indecipherable. True? The

: scene in the nightclub is subtitled on my version, but nothing else (and

: that's how I remember it from the cinema)

Same here. Another Irvine Welsh film, however, WAS subtitled over here, namely The Acid House.

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I was grateful for the subtitle option on my DVD player, otherwise I would've had a heck of a time following the dialogue.

Possible SPOILERS

I agree with all of the reasons you offered, Matt, for why this is a brilliant piece of film-making; Danny Boyle obviously has a gift. Plus, I think he's dead-on with his depiction of the wages of addiction, such as AIDS, theft, child neglect, and all forms of moral compromise.

And considering what the movie is about, maybe this isn't a bad thing, but by film's end, I felt rather sickened by the whole spectacle. I think 2 things did this for me. First, the pervasive and graphic foul language became somewhat overwhelming. Secondly, the depiction of the dead infant and the McGregor character's subsequent hallucinations of her made me queasy. Since becoming a dad, credible storylines with kids in peril affect me rather strongly, so perhaps this is a purely personal reaction.

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Well, add me to the list of people who love this movie. Incredible, stylistic filmmaking, great writing and acting. And yes, it makes me queasy as well. The scenes with the baby are very uncomfortable -- and I think it's a credit to the film that they work as well as they do.

Love the music, too.

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I think one of the things I like about the movie is that it is hionest about the plusses of Heroin use as well.

Too often the classic critique of heroin use is, "you'll get addicted, get AIDS and die", but misses out any rationale as to why anyone would do it in the first place, but as Renton says "We're not stupid, at lest we're not that stupid". Because of its honesty about the pleasures of drug taking you also believe it when it shows you just how badly it messes up everyone's lives, without also portraying heroin as the only addiction, the comments on the adiction to valium and violence are both very telling.

Matt

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Actually, they had me at the opening. I can't remember exactly, but I think the words of the opening song or narrative over shots of the guys running really set me up right away for a movie that was about longing for something beyond the stultifying consumer void. There was something clean and winsome about that sense of longing, at least before "looking for love in all the wrong places" took some tragic turns.

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I really struggled with this one -- it seemed like a great film but i struggled with the dialect. It really seemed to have some value in what it was saying, but i just couldn't pick up on its speech.

Perhaps the DVD has subtitles? Andrew says it does... maybe i'll give the disc a shot.

-s.

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I am genuinely amazed that people have had difficulty understanding the dialogue in this film -- I think I am beginning to feel like my friend Byrun, who kvetched that he couldn't understand why there were subtitles to The Acid House since HE was perfectly able to pick up everything. (I, however, was thankful for those subtitles, which, incidentally, went beyond mere transcription to interpretation; e.g., when a character said "the wee bairn", the subtitle said "the little baby" -- and yes, I could have figured THAT particular item out for myself.)

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Laugh if you want to, but i honestly think that Canadians understand these accents better than Americans. I don't know why, but i've seen this before.

-s.

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In one of my sessions at Schloss Mittersill I showed the famous "when I run, I feel God's pleasure" scene from CHARIOTS OF FIRE. When we previewed the DVD to find the starting point, the subtitles were switched on - kind of a default setting at the Schloss, because it's a multilingual kind of place, I guess. Anyhow, the first impulse was to swith them off, but we realized it would be helpful for the people whose first language wasn't English, and left them on.

Certainly made me realize what's left out in subtitling! Perhaps partly because of the rapidity of some of the dialogue exchanges, but there were very few sentences that weren't rephrased somewhat - in the English-to-English translation!

(From TRAINSPOTTING to CHARIOTS OF FIRE in one easy step...)

Ron

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In one of my sessions at Schloss Mittersill

Every time you say that, I feel my inner Hulk wanting to smash things.

Yes, the things we lose in subtitles. I felt tremendously frustrated by the subtitles in Code Unknown... and I couldn't help but wonder if Michael Haneke wouldn't be pleased as punch to learn that. It's certainly adds another level to his theme of not being able to break the codes of others.

Remember the scene at the house where there are two conversations going on at once: one between a man and a little girl, the other between a woman and her sister, who is behind her in the kitchen? The subtitles shift left and right, giving us only limited information on each conversation. We miss large portions of the dialogue in that scene. Maddening.

I'm interested to see how the subtitles go on the Wings of Desire DVD. I've watched about an hour of it, and so far I'm fairly certain the subtitles are giving us more information than those on my VHS version.

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: I felt tremendously frustrated by the subtitles in Code Unknown... and I

: couldn't help but wonder if Michael Haneke wouldn't be pleased as punch

: to learn that. It's certainly adds another level to his theme of not being

: able to break the codes of others.

Ha! Good point.

: Remember the scene at the house where there are two conversations

: going on at once: one between a man and a little girl, the other between

: a woman and her sister, who is behind her in the kitchen? The subtitles

: shift left and right, giving us only limited information on each conversation.

: We miss large portions of the dialogue in that scene. Maddening.

And then there is that weird tendency that a lot of subtitlers have, to leave out subtitles altogether when a character SINGS. This happened most recently with Respiro -- someone sings a song to someone, and the singer and the singee look meaningfully at each other, but we in the audience who do not speak Italian haven't got a CLUE what's going on.

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Actually when you can understand what's being said the night-club scene becomes quite funny. I think part of the reason they use subtitles in that scene is for comedic purposes (e.g. a long speech in a Scottish dialect deliberately replaced with a shorter than needed version)

Matt

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When I was at seminary, I got an earful from one of my roommates for watching Trainspotting. He sat there for most of the film tutting and sighing every time something objectionable happened, then raising his hands with incredulity and asking, "How on earth can a Christian watch this?" laugh.gif

I don't find the way the film treats drug addiction to be objectionable at all. I find it deals with the subject honestly, as Matt pointed out, being as frank about its attractions as its horrific consequences.

The only thing that ever bothered me was the rather amoral ending, in common with a few other British pictures at the time (I have Shooting Fish in mind at the moment), although perhaps I haven't really considered it deeply enough. Anyone any thoughts on the ending?

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:spoilers:

The ending is a rather curious mix: a moral course of action accomplished by amoral means, i.e. stealing the money to leave behind his loser friends who keep dragging him down. Given the tenor of the whole movie up until this point, it makes more sense than anything overly cheery or moralistic.

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SPOILERS

Andrew wrote:

: The ending is a rather curious mix: a moral course of action . . .

Not sure how "moral" it is, since the guy grins at us ironically and basically tells us that he's going to become a faithful middle-class consumer just like US -- which isn't necessarily a good thing.

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Once again, your cinematic memory proves superior to mine -- I was recalling his general course of action, rather than the cynical grin or voiceover. Point well-taken.

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Ah, Trainspotting, definitely one of my favorite films. I like it for all the reasons you guys have listed above: the honesty of the portrayal, the biting black humour, the incredible camera work and storytelling.

However, no one has mentioned the one other thing I love about this movie...THE SOUNDTRACK. Gotta be one of my most listened to soundtracks. I love it. It's all about Underworld and Leftfield. Love "Born Slippy".

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Good for you Chansen. :wink:

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