8 Things You Learn Re-Watching Trainspotting

4. Everyone Needs More Peter Mullan In Their Lives

Trainspotting Poster

Good ol' Swanney - the chef-come-waiter-come-Maitre'd at the world's grimmest restaurant, always there to cook up a portion of scag to anyone with a crumpled up twenty in their back pocket. The great Mother Superior is played by the enigmatic and underrated Peter Mullan, who could probably pull off that title too if he wanted to.

In a film full of frantic, fantastic supporting performances it proves difficult to single out a particular performer worthy of a dedicated mention - but as Mullan's turn as the group's pseduo-patriarchal, drug-dealing degenerate gets so regularly overlooked, there can be only one choice.

Of particular note is that great scene - that begins with Swanney and Renton role-playing waiter and waited-on in their heroin cafe and ends with the latter getting dropped off outside the hospital to the whimsical piano instrumental of Lou Reed's Perfect Day. In that moment you realise that if anyone could convince you that you needed a side order of garlic bread with your "intravenous injection of hard drugs" - it would be Peter Mullan.

Trainspotting peter mullan

Interestingly, the Peterhead-born actor only started his career in front of the camera at the start of the nineties and Trainspotting was arguably only his third 'big' film after breakout Riff-Raff and then a minor role in Mel Gibson's Braveheart.

Unfortunately, Mullan's filmography is littered with brilliant bit-parts - from the illeistic security guard Syd in Children of Men to the criminally underdeveloped Yaxley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Yet if you're looking for further - and more extensive - proof of his ability, go and watch him in the leading role of Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur.


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