Trainspotting 1996

Critics score:
89 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: Trainspotting is a searing pop-art portrait of a lost generation blowing out its brains. As they rail, chuckle, shout and dive into darkness, you're trapped yourself between a bellylaugh and a scream. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Exuberant and pitiless, profane yet eloquent, flush with the ability to create laughter out of unspeakable situations, "Trainspotting" is a drop-dead look at a dead-end lifestyle that has all the strength of its considerable contradictions. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: Trainspotting's saving grace is that there's a heck of a lot of entertainment value in this particular form of shallowness. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Trainspotting, buoyed by a great Brit Pop soundtrack and Brian Tufano's agile cinematography, captures the stoned-out, gut-churning experience of hardcore addiction with hallucinogenic acuity. Read more

Susan Stark, Detroit News: Read more

Janet Maslin, New York Times: For better or worse, sometimes strictly for the sake of shock value, the stylish irreverence of "Trainspotting" mimics that drug high and delivers its own potent kick. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Far from nihilistic, though certainly calculated to butt up against various puritanical norms, [the film is a] feel-good jaunt about young Scottish heroin addicts and their degradation and betrayals of one another. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: It would be hard to imagine a movie about drugs, depravity, and all-around bad behavior more electrifying than Trainspotting. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: The experience of watching Trainspotting -- the electric, nasty and slick descent into the milieu of young Scottish junkies -- is a little like speeding through the digestive tract of some voracious beast. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: This isn't an examination of the Scottish drug culture from the outside looking in, it's one from the inside looking out. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The movie has been attacked as pro-drug and defended as anti-drug, but actually it is simply pragmatic. It knows that addiction leads to an unmanageable, exhausting, intensely uncomfortable daily routine, and it knows that only two things make it bearable Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Trainspotting is a singular sensation, a visionary knockout spiked with insight, wild invention and outrageous wit. Read more

Charles Taylor, Hip, brutally honest and humane... Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: This is not dour social realism. It's a shot- from-a-cannon youth movie, with likable young people sticking needles in their arms in working-class Edinburgh. Read more

Michael Wood, Slate: The characters are without recognizable virtues, and neither they nor the movie asks us to like them. But they are full of energy and underplayed wit, endlessly picking themselves up off the filthy floor. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The film is about joy -- in conniving and surviving, in connecting with audiences, in its own fizzy, jizzy style. And that's why, compared with it, most other films look zombified. Read more

Time Out: This may not have the weight of 'Great Art', but it crystallises youthful disaffection with the verve of the best and brightest pop culture. A sensation. Read more

Derek Elley, Variety: Scabrous, brutal and hip, Trainspotting is a Clockwork Orange for the '90s. Read more

Hal Hinson, Washington Post: A cocktail of scuzzy charm, nerve and despair that seduces and repulses in nearly equal proportions. It packs a jolt, all right. But it leaves you with a brutal hangover, too. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: The movie tags at the heels of Edinburgh social dropouts Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie, for whom getting off beats getting out. Read more