Closer, Faster, Brighter: Elements of ‘Trainspotting’

By  · Published on November 23rd, 2016

Danny Boyle’s Trainspottingbased on the novel by Irvine Welsh — is a hyperkinetic trip of a film, itself a kind of drug that through several visceral filmic techniques, not to mention its narrative, intoxicates viewers and holds them in its clutches until it wears off and the only things rolling are the credits. In a trio of brief montages edited by whoispablo, some of these techniques are brought to light and given center stage.

The first, “Closer,” is a collection of all the close-ups Boyle employs, many of which pertain to the pursuit, acquisition, and consequences of heroin. Seen up close like this, the only thing in the frame, it really drives home how addiction can become the sole focus of one’s world, how it can take over the entire frame of our lives and block out everything else. And presented in a rapid-fire succession of quick cuts, this montage also calls to mind just how quickly use can become addiction.

The second video, “Move,” reveals how the character of Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) is always in motion. Even when he’s sitting or lying down he’s always fidgeting, always twitching, always needing to be kinetic. While this is certainly a symptom of his drug use, it is also a manifestation of his inner restlessness, his Scottish ennui that keeps poking him in the conscience, telling him there’s supposed to be more to all this than what he’s experiencing.

And lastly, “Colors” explores just that, the color scheme in which Danny Boyle casts the film, primarily bright, soft hues, almost pastel – which would seem to hint at the fuzzy barrier heroin puts between its user and the world, the kind of pleasant disconnect it creates – as well as harsh, neon reds to signify the urgency and danger of addiction, and murky blues that represent its depth and ability to drown those in its grip.

With T2 Trainspotting on the way (the new international trailer is below), this is the perfect time to take another look at the first film, which is still just as vibrant, impactful and bold as it was 20 years ago. These videos from whoispablo are the perfect place to start.

Related Topics:

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist