Does Trainspotting Glorify Heroin and Drug Taking?

Published: 2021-09-28 16:35:04
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Category: Heroin, Heroes

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DOES TRAINSPOTTING GLORIFY HEROIN AND DRUG TAKING? Danny Boyle’s outstanding adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s stunning novel “Trainspotting” has managed to stir some trouble since its release in 1996. Most reviews call it shocking but no matter how shocking it still ranks as one of the best Scottish movies. The film caused debates about drug use, specifically heroin, as it neither condones the use of heroin nor shuns those who have become addicted to the drug. There are many valid arguments stating that the movie glorifies heroin and other drug usage.
Take, for example, during the opening scenes of the movie, Renton (the main character) tells the audience that he wouldn’t choose life, and that he has no reason for this and continues - “who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin? ”. He’s telling the audience that life is nothing compared to heroin, he’d rather choose to rot his life away and throw his money away on an illegal, life destroying drug and that he can’t justify it. He’s glorifying heroin by stating that heroin negates any reason for choosing a responsible and safe life.
It is clear how people believe that the movie glorifies heroin as this is not the only point in the movie that heroin is said to be better than life. Later on in the opening scenes, Renton lists some of the things you worry about in life (bills, food, football and relationships) but finishes by saying – “all the things that really don’t matter when you have a sincere and truthful junk habit. ” This list includes things that are relatively essential to a healthy life – food for the obvious reasons, football or other hobbies so that life isn’t all work and relationships that make people happy and sane.



Apparently, however, a junk habit is worth so much more than things that can make humans happy. “Junk”, a word used to describe filth or garbage, is better for your life than food or relationships. This clearly glorifies heroin as it’s taking human needs and saying that heroin is much better and more important. On the contrary however, the film is not biased. It does not just glorify heroin and other drugs, in fact, at some points the film even shows the extreme damage that drugs can do.
Take the scene where Renton is going cold turkey for instance. In this scene, Renton has a frantic dream in which he is threatened by Begbie, he visualises Spud in a prison outfit and Tommy is shown to look sick and weak. He also visualises baby Dawn, the infant that died earlier in the movie, crawling along the ceiling before twisting her head and dropping on his face. This sort of dream can cause great psychological damage, Renton could suffer from recurring nightmares due to his hallucinations and end up mentally ill.
Not only does Trainspotting show the psychological effects of drugs but also the dangers of heroin use. Later in the film, Tommy contracts HIV from a dirty needle. This isn’t the end of Tommy’s sicknesses. He buys a kitten for his ex who declines it and Tommy has to keep it. He takes terrible care of it as he is drugged up most of the time and the cat begins to defecate all over his flat. This causes Tommy to get toxoplasmosis which causes him to have a stroke and he dies in his flat. His lack of sobriety was the problem.
If he hadn’t have been using heroin, he could have got his girlfriend back, avoiding the kitten issue and not getting toxoplasmosis but unfortunately he was using heroin which shows how heroin can swiftly destroy a life. In conclusion, Trainspotting finds the perfect balance and neither glorifies nor condemns those that use heroin or any drug. The arguments on one side are negated by arguments on the other so it is not possible to say that Trainspotting is biased when it comes to the glorification of heroin and drugs.

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