Trainspotting: The Definitive Edition on DVD

The Definitive Edition Distributed by


  • Cert:
  • 9027121
  • Running time: 89 minutes
  • Year: 1995
  • Pressing: 2003
  • Region(s): 2, 4 (UK PAL)
  • Chapters: 20 plus extras
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
  • Languages: English, Hungarian
  • Subtitles: English, Hungarian
  • Widescreen: 1.85:1
  • 16:9-enhanced: Yes
  • Macrovision: Yes
  • Disc Format: DVD 9
  • Price: £19.99
  • Extras:The Beginning, Deleted Scenes, Retrospective, Biographies, Cannes,Trailers, Gallery, Audio commentary


      Danny Boyle

    (28 Days Later, The Beach, A Life Less Ordinary, Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise, TV: Inspector Morse, Mr Wroe’s Virgins)


    Andrew MacDonald


    John Hodge (based on a novel by Irvine Welsh)


    Various artists including Iggy Pop, Heaven 17, Underworld,Pulp, Damon Albarn, Lou Reed, Elastica and Sleeper.


    Renton: Ewan McGregor
    Spud: Ewan Bremner
    Sick Boy: Jonny Lee Miller
    Tommy: Kevin McKidd
    Begbie: Robert Carlyle
    Diane: Kelly MacDonald
    Mickey: Irvine Welsh
    Drug Buyer: Keith Allen
    Swanney: Peter Mullan
    Himself: Dale Winton

Trainspotting on DVD
Chooselife, choosea job, choose a career, choose a family, choose a fucking big television,choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tinopeners, choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance, choosefixed interest mortgage repayments, choose a starter home, choose yourfriends, choose leisure wear and matching luggage, choose a three-piecesuite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics, choose DIY and wonderingwho the fuck you are on a Sunday morning, choose sitting on that couchwatching mind-numbing spirit-crushing gameshows stuffing fucking junk foodinto your mouth, choose rotting away at the end of it all pissing yourlast in a miserable home nothing more than an embarassment to the selfishfucked-up brats that you’ve spawned to replace yourselves, choose yourfuture, choose life, but why would I want to do a thing like that?

I chose not to choose life, I chose something else, and the reasons?
There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

CoverTrainspottingtells the tale of Renton, a man with a chronic heroin addiction,who is trying to kick the habit. Not easy as you might imagine, but inventivevisuals from the director make his journey almost as real for the vieweras it is for his character, played superbly by Ewan McGregor.

Also thrown into the mix is Diane (Kelly McDonald, most recentlyseen in BBC1’s State of Play), Renton’s new girlfriend, who hasone major surprise for him; Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller, who aims to kick the habit at thesame time as Renton – not for any particular reason, other than to completelypiss Renton off as to how easily it can be done; Spud (Ewen Bremner), Renton’s best friend,who isn’t very good in job interviews, and even worse at trying to keephis bedsheets clean; Tommy (Kevin McKidd), a sex-mad drug-hater, who makes XXX videoswith his girlfriend; and last, but not least, Begbie, played by the always-excellentRobert Carlyle, whose hit comedy, The Full Monty, wasscreened at my local cinema for seven months straight and was still pullingin the crowds when the video went on sale. Begbie is a complete madman, alwaysgetting drunk and looking for the next fight… oh, and swearing a great dealtoo…

A few cameos in this film include Keith Allen, who showed up asthe temporary flatmate in Shallow Grave, and appears here as a drugbuyer; My Name is Joe‘sPeter Mullan as drug dealer Swanney and Dale Winton playinghimself as a game-show host.

On all previous DVD and VHS releases, the film was cut for nine seconds ofdrug abuse, for viewing the actual needle piercing the skin whileinjecting, the same thing thatPulp Fictionsuffered when released on UK video, laserdisc and DVD. Trainspotting: TheDefinitive Edition is, thankfully, totally uncut. However, when it wasoriginally released on DVD,an uncut version accidentally escaped into the open fora while before being recalled and I got one of those 🙂

Of course, the extras were very thin on the ground by comparison to this 2-discrelease.

A word about the film first, though. If you never saw it on any previousrelease then you must see it now. If you enjoyed it before then you’ll stilldo so now. It really is a fantastic ride of entertainment and makes you wonderhow director Danny Boyle could come up with the steaming pile ofemptyness that was28 Days Later.

On a side note, the original American release of this film had the firsttwenty minutes dubbed into American accents (!), and some sex scenes removed.When the MPAA (the USA equivalent of the BBFC) asked director Danny Boylewhat Diane was doing to Renton while on top and reaching down with herhand between his legs… he said “Tickling his balls”. The MPAA were notamused, and instructed him to cut the scene.

CoverThe picture is framed at the original intended ratio of 1.77:1, so will fitexactly into the frame of a widescreen television. The image is also anamorphicand looks fantastic throughout with nothing to complain about.

The sound quality is superb. While it has a number of relatively quiet scenesof plain dialogue, it really comes into its own whenblasting out classic tracks such as : Iggy Pop – Lust For Life; Heaven17 – Temptation; Underworld – Born Slippy and Sleeper – Atomic,a cover version I didn’t expect.After watching this film, every time I hear the latter on the radio, it bringsme back to the moment where Renton’s sexual appetite returns and he cops off(and more) with then-newcomer Kelly MacDonald.

Both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks are included here, but whileI always go for the later it won’t make a massive amount of difference in thisfilm if you don’t have DTS.

The extras are as follows:

  • The Beginning (9½ mins):A brief bit of chat from the principal cast and crew members, all recorded atthe time of filming, it offers an insight into how the film came to being.Nothing too revolutionary but certainly worth a look. Shot in 4:3.
  • Deleted Scenes (9½ mins):9 of them, in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. There’s also a clever option toallow you to see these placed back into the film. Press select when the’scissor’ icon appears during the film (if you have this option selected inthe menu) and you’ll be taken to the deleted scene then will carry on to thenext scene afterwards. I really think these should’ve been left in. PeterMullan’s first scene is a particular ‘surprise’.
  • Retrospective (64 mins):Split into four sections, we’re treated to ‘then and now’ studies of boththe look and the sound of the film. Production designer Kave Quinn tells hertale in 1995 before those higher up in the credits give their take on it.Musically, Mr Boyle shows how the soundtrack elements fit together.

    The follows interviews with Danny Boyle, producer Andrew MacDonald,screenwriter John Hodge and novellist Irvine Welsh. Finally,Behind the Needle shows the trouble they went to to create a fake armfor the injection shot, only for the BBFC to order it to be cut. This last bitruns just over six minutes but you can view it with or without Danny Boyle’scommentary depending on the angle chosen.

    Strange that the footage here was clearly shot in 16:9 but is presented inthe 14:9-letterbox compromise you associate with analogue TV. Couldn’t someonefind the original master for this version? And why in the ‘now’ segments didthey pick a cameraman who has a stupid fetish for shoving the camera up theDanny Boyle’s nose? Just point and shoot!

    I’ll let you discover the ‘Carlton Athletic Boys’ segment.

  • Biographies:Danny Boyle, Andrew MacDonald, John Hodge, Ewan McGregor, Ewan Bremner,Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle and Kelly MacDonald. Don’t gettoo excited – it’s just a few lines of text each.
  • Cannes (7 mins):Brief interviews with Martin Landau, Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn andEwan McGregor and soundbites from others.
  • Trailers:A teaser trailer (4:3, 1 min) and a theatrical trailer (4:3, 2 mins).
  • Gallery (5 mins):A large selection of polaroids to “Atomic”.
  • Audio commentary:Director Danny Boyle, producer Andrew MacDonald, screenwriter JohnHodge and actor Ewan McGregor do the honours here.

The main menus loop “Atomic” with brief bits of film footage hazed out in orangeto blend in with the look of the packaging. Subtitles are in English only, buteven if you don’t select those you’ll still see them during a nightclub scenebut that’s intentional. The film is separated by 20 chapters.


Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 2003.

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