Book vs. Movie: Trainspotting

This one had ben sitting on my shelf for half an eternity. A month ago I finally grabbed the book and was excited to dive into Irvine Welsh famous story of drug addiction.


The Plot:
Trainspotting is actually just a bunch of different scenes and events. Told from different perspectives you get to know the junkies Rent, Sick Boy, Spud and some of their friends. Irvine Welsh tells the tale of their daily struggle.


Book vs. Movie:
First of all the book: I was excited to finally read it, on the first page I was already irritated. The novel is not in plain English but entirely in Scottish. That made it very difficult to understand and to dive into the story. After about twenty pages I could read it properly but it kept me from really getting into the plot until the end. As I mentioned before the scenes are told from different perspectives. This was the next point of struggle. It often took me several pages to even figure out who the protagonist in the chapter was.
Moving on the film: For me, Danny Boyle’s movie achieved what the novel couldn’t: capture me and drag me right into the story. On screen it all was clearer and you could follow the story better. It also felt like the film has more speed than the book which is another plus point.
What I need to highlight is the more than perfect cast. Nobody could have embodied Renton better than Ewan McGregor. Simply Amazing. However, the other actors also impressed me deeply. Whoever did the casting: Great job!
Furthermore, hearing the soundtrack is a great reason to watch Trainspotting. Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Joy Division… On of the best soundtracks ever.

So I guess I have to say I prefer the movie. The book gave me a rather hard time and I wouldn’t read it again. The movie, however, entertains me every time I watch it. Great film! The images are simply superb. (You do need a strong stomach to get through it, just to warn you, but it’s totally worth it!)


What do you think? Let me know in the comments! =)

13 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: Trainspotting

    • 12 is really a bit young for that kind of movie. I would have been disturbed too!
      Haha I considered reading it in German when I had trouble with the English version, good that I didn’t buy the German version too!
      I also wanted to quit after the first paragraph, reading a book in Scottish is simply horrible.


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  4. I read the book some time before the film was made, when they announced they were making it I was excited yet sceptical, when I finally saw it at the cinema on its release I was dissapointed. The shift from mid to late 80s to mid 90s wasn’t necessary, the characters didn’t look the same as they were described in the book. I know making a film of a novel requires some jiggling with the plot and a condensing of characters, but it really bugged me. The novel was groundbreaking, a real dialect driven story that worked perfectly, the film was an attempt to put “britpop” on the big screen, and like most of britpop it was a bit style over substance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had seen the film long before I read the book so for me the movie kind of was what it’s supposed to be.
      But I expirienced the problem several times with other books. Completely understand your point!


  5. I’m just starting to read the book, but the Scottish-style writing adds a TON of character and culture to the experience. Having seen the movie already, I can easily-but-badly imitate Renton’s speaking, so perhaps this makes it a bit less challenging to get into the book. I’d say the accent is a positive touch that allows the reader to join the story as a more “in-character” voyeur, though I will have to do my best to remember I am not IN the story, myself. Whit ye gaunnae dae?


    • I completely agree with you, it definitely adds to the characters – it’s just a bit of a pain in the ass if English is not your first language. However, reading out loud worked for me. 🙂


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