Articles, Blog

The Hidden Meaning in Trainspotting – Earthling Cinema

Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema.
I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Trainspotting, directed by Academy Award-winning biped, Danny Boyle. Released in 1996, Trainspotting is a prequel to The Trainspotter, starring Jason Statham. The film tells the story of Mark Renton, a human with a fondness for an Earth poison called heroin. He also has a fondness for schoolgirls, a sentiment shared by Earth’s entire male population. Soon Renton’s poison use gets him in over his proverbial head, so his parents put him on time-out to think about what he’s done. Once clean, Renton moves to London, England and gets a big boy job. And just when he thinks life can’t get any better, it doesn’t — it gets worse. His friend Tommy dies from exposure to cat poop, and the rest of the gang mourns him the only way they know how: by becoming drug dealers. The deal is a success, but Renton decides it might be fun to double-cross his buddies, so he does. And it is. Trainspotting is a movie about drug use, but unlike many human films, it doesn’t unilaterally condemn drug use. The toilet scene is the thematic focal point of the film, as well as the thematic fecal point of the film. Renton fishing the opium suppositories out of the toilet is representative of the grotesque, degrading, and dehumanizing effects of heroin addiction. But once submerged, he is exposed to the other side of drug use: serenity, beauty, and nirvana. Also, he kind of looks like the baby from that Nirvana album. And speaking of albums, our heroes are often staged as if they were on an album cover, highlighting the so- called “rock and roll” side of drug addiction. Later, when Renton overdoses, the scene is scored by Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” a song about a pretty good day. In an ironic twist, Renton is actually having a pretty bad day. Heroin can make you feel like a rock star, but it can also turn you into human garbage. The film deals with addiction, but if you thought it was just drug addiction, guess again dummy. Human life was full of addicting stimulants: drugs such as speed, food, and whooping some ass. Another human addiction was what they called “sex,” or the act of reproduction minus the reproduction. Frankly, it’s a miracle their species lasted as long as it did. In this montage, we see Renton and his friends pursuing sex with reckless abandon. But as with heroin, there is a major comedown. Renton finds out Diane is underage. Tommy and Lizzy realize their sex tape is missing. And Spud appears to have slimed himself, which means he’s ready to shed his skin. The film also treats friendship like an addiction. Just when Renton is getting his life together, Begbie and Sick Boy invade his home, interfere with his work, and suck up his life savings, just like an unhealthy drug habit. Renton even talks about friendship like a drug experience. In the end, Renton decides to kick his drug and friend habits and “choose life.” But is he being genuine? His face is completely out of focus as he talks about looking forward to a “big f**king television,” which is odd, because movies are usually shot in focus. And as he says on the bus: there are final hits, and there are final hits. Kind of like how Michael Jordan kept retiring, then coming back every time there was a Space Jam. The word “trainspotting” means being obsessed with a trivial topic — like Sick Boy is with James Bond, or like Earth’s culture was with the website Bing. But trainspotting also refers to a common pastime in Europe: counting the trains as they pass. Perhaps “choosing life” is really just fixating on superficial things. Or maybe life is just a series of transient “hits” that allow us to pass the time. I should note that a train is like a starship, but way shittier. For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. For more information about heroin, click the subscribe button.


  1. Don Draper's Greatest Memes Author

    For the most part, sex was and is the ultimate goal for guys to do in life. Women, on the other hand, knows this and some of them are totally using it to their advantage as part of perfecting their skills to be a real woman and consequently is the shit that keeps us the way we are… Now, some of the men, the straight and gay men are doing it too. lol (I wonder where this is going… Sex is actually the main addiction and the rest are just consequential damages).

  2. xirsamoht x Author

    I always wondered if a possible nice 'extra' reference to the film's title "Trainspotting" was about track-marks?
    Track-marks being the marks left down an addicts arm above the veins, from repeated injecting; which, in a line sort of resemble train tracks.

  3. imaginaryobserver Author

    I love the multiple translations on the sequel. A little detail (I had to go back to prove it to myself) but one I think makes an impact on the video format.

    Forget it; I love all the design choices!

  4. Kyle Towers Author

    the movie's ending always made me feel like Rent was lying to himself (or the audience) about finally kicking his addiction. he tried twice in the movie and failed twice nothing about the ending made it seem like this time would be any different. I haven't seen T2 yet so don't spoil me on how that goes

  5. The ghost of Spookwagen Author

    I must've missed the point of Trainspotting then. For me, Trainspotting seemed to drive a rather well-done dichotomy between the richer, opportunity-laden, impersonal England and the fraternal, poorer, hopeless Scotland. The only character to break out of the cycle of poverty had to compromise his conscience to do so. Heroin was a recurring motif, the glue that held the gang together. Breaking out of the downward spiral of heroin granted Renton opportunity and wealth–but it severed his ties to his friends so thoroughly that he didn't even miss them.

  6. Ancient Vikram Author

    Renton does not have a thing for girls, that's very misleading to people who have never seen the movie and are watching the video.

  7. Jack Carr Author

    damm i look at the tansporter series so differently so now i never saw the art but now its like ive been reborn if only we were lukcy enough to have stanley kubrick direct them

  8. Brent Proske Author

    "Perfect Day" is a love song that Lou Reed wrote…. TO HEROIN. YOU DOLT. Hence the selection for the OD music. Otherwise, decent video. Fuck.

  9. kellyloganme Author

    Really? That's the best train joke you could come up with? It comes off half-hearted and tacked on. I'm surprised you didn't roll it into the sex and obsession commentary with some choice train/tunnel references.

  10. D.A King Author

    I'd like my 4.34 back,you pointed out nothing new or of interest, and since you are OBVIOUSLY so much more advanced then I'm sure you can manage a little thing like that!

  11. phatasianboi Author

    I can't believe you didn't mention how he went in to train a guy, who destroys the galaxy, and then that guy's son, who then saves the galaxy.

  12. hmds88 Author

    Hey Wisecrack. See if you can do a review of Guy Ritchie's 2005 "Revolver". The British version. I can't stress that enough. Not the dumbed down US version.

  13. Cali Braxus Author

    If it hadn't been for "Trainspotting", I'd never have even tried heroin . . . . . . . So here's a heartfelt "thank you" to Irvine Welsh.

  14. kakaowasabi/カカオわさび Author

    Here is reallу full aaаand good qualitу Trainspotting =>

  15. SgtPepperChannel Author

    1:45 which is also are taken from the back cover of the Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, as Renton turns back.

  16. Legendary Dragon Author

    Тhis is thе niсеist movie i еveeeеr sеe!!! I advisе everybody tooо wаtсh it 🙂

  17. Monkey Business Author

    Coming from the explanation as observing trains along their tracks, "trainspotting" also describes the search of a vein to inject the needle into, as they turn dark from continuous heroin use and resemble rails viewed from the air. Just…you know….FYI.

  18. Mem Mustafa Author

    Trainspotting as a title refers to the heroin needle points that form lines up the arms of addicts, that was the explanation Irvine Welsh gave but as cinema is subjective it can mean anything and I kinda preferred your explanation if I'm being honest.

  19. kindoflame Author

    There is something you missed about the title. The series of puncture wounds addicts get from repetitively injecting heroin are sometimes referred to as train tracks.

    P.S. I learned that from school. That was one really weird anti-drug video.

  20. Stewart McConnell Author

    good video but its called Trainspotting because that's the name of the place junkies go to get high, think its only in scotland that it has that name though

  21. Corky DeLarge Author

    Then his face gets blurry as he walks away causing him to grow a metachlorian beard leading to him becoming a jedi. Trains, heroin, getting laid, a jedi craves not these things.

    -Obi-wan Jabroni


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *