The wild tale of a young heroin addict in Scotland, Trainspotting, based on a novel of the same name, makes for a strange and absurd film. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) and his gang of addicts are stuck in a mindless loop of chasing a high. Renton tries to give it up but wants to have his last hit which leads to a disgusting scene in a public bathroom. Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) has plenty of opinions on pop culture and mocks Renton by quitting at the same time. Spud (Ewen Bremner) tries to stay unemployed but has to apply for jobs to continue to receive payments so bombs an interview by using speed. Begbie (Robert Carlyle) loves to fight and causes all sorts of altercations at the pub. Tommy (Kevin McKidd) is an honest kid but when a porn tape of him and his girlfriend is stolen it starts a downward spiral.
Sober, Renton looks for a woman to have sex with and encounters Diane (Kelly Macdonald) who is revealed after a night of love making to be underage. Other gang members have awful nights that including some pretty gross scenarios. Renton only remains off of heroin for a while until he falls back into the deplorable lifestyle. Robbing and corrupting, Renton descends into addiction until they discover Allison (Susan Vidler) screaming. Her child, who had been living in the drug dealer's apartment, is found dead. Renton becomes an even worse individual and is arrested.
Renton gets out of trouble but Spud does not. Feeling guilty, Renton goes too shootup but overdoses and ends up in the hospital. This time, under his parents supervision, he has to go through with the withdrawal. The hallucinations are brutal and director Danny Boyle makes this scene hard to watch and full of symbolism. The AIDS epidemic also hits and though Renton is spared, Tommy is not so lucky.
Sober again, Renton finds employment in the real estate industry. He gets his own apartment only to have Begbie show up, wanted by the police. Sick Boy also shows up and the two men infringe on Mark's life until he sets them up in a flat he is selling and loses his job. Returning to Scotland for Tommy's funeral, they reunite with Spud and the gang plans a large drug deal. The deal goes off but Begbie can't help but assault someone in a bar. Finally, Mark has enough and steals the money for himself running off.
Boyle's tale of drug abuse is a mixture of harsh and humorous, depicting something that still has a hold of society today. McGregor's voiceover narration gives viewers the cocky perspective of an addict who believes he is in the right for chasing his high while the story that plays out also shows the horrible truth of heroin. Trainspotting is a product of its time and it is interesting that it has come back around for a sequel these many years later.