When Slumdog Millionaire won the Oscar in 2009 it put the spotlight on its director, Danny Boyle. How else do you explain fans now turning to his older movies? It has certainly been a delight discovering some of his earlier movies like Trainspotting. Though the movie, directed by Boyle, was released in 1996, it probably became more popular in 2009. It’s a tale about heroin addiction and stars Ewan McGregor as its central character along with Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald and Susan Vidler. The title for the movie comes from the formation of a train of injection spots on the arms of the intravenous drug users. The movie explores the Edinburgh drug scene through the characters of Renton and his friends Spud, Sick Boy, Tommy, Begbie and Allison. Tommy and Begbie are the only ones who are not into the scene but, later, Tommy gets sucked into the vortex of IDs and Begbie too is not untouched by the lure of earning lots of dough through the dark world of drug dealings.
Renton, on his part, puts in several attempts to escape this vicious web of drugs, drugs and more drugs but, each time, the enchantment proves stronger and deeper. Whether he is ultimately able to walk away is what forms the climax of the story.

But be warned that there are some really disturbing scenes in the movie which successfully manage to psyche one out and might even make one swear off drugs no matter how strong the allure. In this attempt, Boyle might have actually made a great contribution to society at large. But the movie itself is not meant to be an argument for or against drug addiction. It is more the story of an individual who means to live life on his own terms, irrespective of whether those terms are good or bad.

The movie is a must watch for the youth of today who are surrounded by myriad choices of good as well as evil, more freedom than the previous generation and peer pressure of living life in the fast lane. It does not recommend the choices they should make but, rather, it is a mirror to what might happen if they give in to their inner demons and choose a life where visions are warped and selves are destroyed. To be fair, the director does not deliberately put up this mirror. In fact, never once does the movie get preachy or moralistic on any issue. However, despite the absence of these tiresome entrapments, the movie somehow manages to generate a chain of thoughts on the consequences and repercussions of trying to live it up a little too dangerously.  If one is even a wee bit of a thinker, one would naturally get thinking about where one’s life choices would lead to. Go for the movie if what you are looking for is great entertainment or some food for serious thought. Either way, it is vouched for that you will  not come away disappointed.

Varsha Srivatsan