[Screen It]


(1996) (Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Extreme Moderate Heavy Minor Mild
Heavy None None None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Extreme Heavy Mild Moderate Mild

Drama: Several Scottish pals shoot heroin to escape the day to day drudgery of their lives.
The story is about Scottish friends Mark Renton (EWAN McGREGOR), the narrator, Spud (EWEN BREMNER), the geeky addict, Sick Boy (JONNY LEE MILLER) a Sean Connery fanatic, Tommy (KEVIN McKIDD), the soccer player and only one not abusing some substance, and Begbie (ROBERT CARLYLE) the violent alcoholic thug. All of them are trying to exist in a lower middle class section of Edinburgh. Most of them do this by shooting heroin and then falling into a clouded stupor. After having done this for some time, they clean up their act, but are so depressed by real life that they go back on smack. When Mark and Spud are arrested for shoplifting (to finance their habit), Spud goes to jail while Mark is forced to go cold turkey. After suffering through withdrawal and finally making it, his "friends" pull him right back into the world of heroin as they try to score a big local sale of it.
This movie is becoming the "in" or "hip" movie to see, so if your kids are influenced by such, then yes. It's biggest draw would have to be older teens and with the resurgent popularity of heroin, I’d watch out for this one.
For graphic heroin use and resulting depravity, strong language, sex, nudity and some violence.
  • None of the actors, including EWAN McGREGOR, are good role models (other than the minor characters of Mark’s parents who try to help him kick the habit).


    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    Looking beyond all of the drug use, swearing and sex/nudity, this film does have an interesting look and feel to it (as it was produced outside the Hollywood assembly line of film making). The characters are quirky and you're not quite sure what's going to happen from one moment to the next. It almost has the feel of "The Commitments" meets "A Clockwork Orange" both with their lower middle class narrators living in a hellish world with passive, accepting parents. But it's not as good as either of those (and for fairness isn't trying to be like them -- after all, this is a story about drug use) and the biggest problem is that you don't really feel for any of the characters. You'll just sit and watch these guys shoot up and wonder if the film makers wanted to deliver a pro or anti drug message with this film.
    This film has, in random order, extreme drug use, extreme use of the "f" and other words, and both male and female frontal nudity as well as graphic sex scenes. Need to here more? Okay, there’s heavy drinking and smoking and lots of theft and some violence to get money to support their drug habits. And to just make it a little more pleasant, the film offers a diarrhea scene and another scene where human excrement is accidentally flung onto several people.

  • The guys are often seen shooting up heroin and/or are high from heroin and are seen cooking it down (in a spoon over a flame).
  • The narrator talks about how great heroin is and how life is a downer when you’re not on it and states "Who needs (good) reasons when you’ve got heroin?"
  • When they’re not on heroin, the guys heavily drink alcohol (beer, hard liquor)
  • Many other people are seen drinking beer.
  • Spud takes speed before going on an interview and later is seen hyped up.
  • A woman is seen injecting heroin into a guy’s penis (seen from behind and his penis isn’t seen, but we see the needle and where she’s going with it).
  • They refer to their supplier as the "mother superior" because of how long he’s had the (heroin) "habit."
  • There are many shots of needles going into arms (for those who get queasy over such things).
  • Mark has diarrhea in the grossest public bathroom one could imagine. We hear the proceedings, but just see him sitting on the toilet. In a weird scene (which is probably him hallucinating) Mark then reaches down into the toilet (and has excrement all over him) and then crawls all the way into it to retrieve two suppositories he was earlier given.
  • A woman is quite bloody after Begbie has thrown his beer mug over his shoulder from a balcony where it falls and hits the woman.
  • Spud has craped on himself while sleeping and the next morning finds it and we see it on his hand. Later, he comes out and tells his girlfriend’s parents that he had an accident and would like to wash the sheets. The mother says she’ll do it, he refuses and they get into a tug of war that ends in the sheet being flung open and the excrement flying onto his girlfriend and her father. Very disgusting.
  • There’s a little bit of blood backwash into a syringe when Mark shoots up again.
  • A man is quite bloody after Begbie beats him up and Spud’s hand is cut open and is also bloody.
  • Everyone shoots up heroin while a woman’s baby crawls around on the floor unattended (she’s also shooting up).
  • Mark then tells us that they went on stealing sprees to get money and he’s seen breaking into a car to steal its battery. Later they’re seen stealing a TV from a retirement home. Mark and Spud are caught shoplifting and Spud is sent to prison for six months while Mark gets off on probation since he claims he’s going to rehab to kick his heroin habit.
  • One of the guys steals Mark’s TV and sells it for money (for heroin and food).
  • Although they know he’s clean and kicked the heroin habit, the other guys want Mark to get in on a major heroin purchase. And of course he has to test the purity of it, so he shoots up again.
  • Mark steals the guys’ money (that they made on their big heroin sale).
  • A woman’s baby is found dead in its crib and the mother is wailing away until she shoots some heroin with Mark.
  • Mark hallucinates while going through withdrawal and sees some weird, disorienting stuff (including a baby doll walking across his ceiling toward him) while screaming his lungs out.
  • Mark and one of the other guys lie out in a field with a Beebe rifle with a scope on it. They finally pick their target and shoot a dog in the rear end that causes it to attack its owner.
  • Knife: Often pulled out by Begbie to threaten people (see "Violence") and once accidentally used to slice open Spud’s hand.
  • Handgun: Begbie shows Mark his gun, and to show him that it’s empty, holds it to his head and pulls the trigger.
  • Shooting heroin.
  • Begbie shows Mark his gun, and to show him that it’s empty, holds it to his head and pulls the trigger.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • 141 (yes, you read that right -- and maybe more) "f" words (2 with the prefix "mother"), 14 "s" words, 13 slang terms for female genitals (the "c" word), 3 "ass" words, 1 hell, and 2 uses of "Christ," and 1 use of "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • Mark says about heroin, "Take the best orgasm you’ve ever had and multiply it by a thousand and you’re still no where near it."
  • The narrator says that one of the things needed while shooting up heroin is pornography.
  • Two of the guys watch a home video of Tommy having sex with his girlfriend from behind her. Her breasts are seen and there’s sexual movement.
  • Spud says "I’ve got balls like f*cking watermelons" when referring to the fact that he and his new girlfriend haven’t had sex yet.
  • Mark states that when one is off heroin the sex drive comes back with a vengeance.
  • All of the guys are seen having sex with women (in different rooms). Mark has sex with an underage girl (he finds out later). She’s seen fully naked (full frontal) as is Mark (full frontal) and she has sex on top of him where her breasts are seen and there is sexual movement. Another woman is on top of her man, wanting "casual sex," but he’s passed out. She then pulls his clothes off to see what she’s missing and we see his penis.
  • When Tommy’s girlfriend realizes their home video sex tape is missing and thinks it might be at the video store, she screams out that people "will be jacking off" to the video.
  • Mark and the underage girl (Diane) are seen in bed together (presumably after having had sex) but there’s no nudity.
  • Begbie is seen in a car with a woman and they’re heavily making out. He runs his hand up her crotch -- and surprise!-- finds out that she is a he. Begbie races from the car.
  • The guys and nearly everyone else heavily smokes cigarettes.
  • Mark’s family helps him get through his heroin withdrawal.
  • Drug use.
  • Mark and one of the other guys lie out in a field with a Beebe rifle with a scope on it. They finally pick their target and shoot a dog in the rear end that causes it to attack its owner.
  • Begbie starts beating a bystander with a cue stick after Begbie thinks he caused him to miss a shot.
  • Begbie tosses his beer mug over his shoulder and it falls and hits a woman on the head. She’s quite bloody and her friends confront Begbie who then kicks one guy in the crotch and then hits another man as a bar room brawl breaks out.
  • Mark breaks a car window to get inside and then steal the battery.
  • The guys beat up a man in a bathroom and steal his money for their drug habit (and Begbie pulls out his knife but is stopped from using it.)
  • Begbie pushes Mark against the wall, sticks his knife between his legs and threatens him with death if he mentions Begbie’s encounter with a transvestite (see "Sex/Nudity").
  • A man bumps into Begbie who then confronts the man. Words are exchanged and then Begbie attacks the man. He pulls his knife and Spud tries to stop him, but gets his hand sliced accidentally sliced open.
  • Bebgie smashes up his room after he finds out that Mark has stolen their money.

  • Reviewed August 11, 1996

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