8 Things You Learn Re-Watching Trainspotting

5. Tommy Is The Closest Trainspotting Comes To Making A Moral Standpoint

Trainspotting Poster

As the curly-haired wee bastard is the centre of attention it should also be mentioned that Tommy MacKenzie is just about the closest we get to a moral - if slightly preachy - stance on drug use.

The film is famous for polarizing opinion on how it represents drug use. Whilst many praised it as staunchly anti-drug, others were quick to lambast the sentiment that folk might just be able to have a good time taking them. The US Republican candidate Bob Dole - fearful that "The marijuana leaf and the heroin needle [had] become the symbols of fashionable rebellion" - famously criticised Trainspotting for "promoting the romance of heroin".

Yet in an interview with Dazed and Confused ahead of the original, Danny Boyle's stance was clear, yet un-partisan:

'They' expect you to swallow the idea that only complete morons touch this drug, who haven't heeded the warnings. That's absolute nonsense! There's a side of drugs which is absolutely fantastic, which is why we all do them at certain times and people will always do them.

Yet despite Boyle's nonchalant, 'cool-dad' outlook on drug-taking he makes a subtle yet fundamental omission from the book in regards to Tommy's character. In Welsh's original, Tommy is a regular speed user; in the film, Renton canonizes him to the point of saying "He never told lies, never took drugs and never cheated on anyone." The result: screen-Tommy's transformation from golden boy to heroin addict is far more intense and far less subtle.


Aspiring screenwriter. Avid Gooner. Saving the rest of the self-descriptive stuff for the autobiography.