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Analysis of the Opening of Trainspotting Film

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 853 words Published: 19th Oct 2021

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The opening of this film varies with its broad range of shot sizes and camera angles. We start the film with what seems like a hand held shot of the main character and his friend “Spud” getting chased through town with the non diegetic soundtrack “lust for life” by iggy pop. they may have chosen to use hand held in this scene to emphasise the chase giving it a personal vibe for the audience making the viewer create a rapport with the main character “Renton”. Also the use of a hand held shot in this high paced scene creates a warped view of the buildings and we run past making us believe we are running alongside the character, whereas the use of a fixed camera or a pan would not have grabbed the audience's attention and stopped us from relating with this town and characters instead giving us a staged view of the film reminding us that it is just a film, this is not what director Danny Boyle wanted. He said in an interview that the reason he wanted to make the film was because the book relied so much on the stories and the character developments that can be told without the constant reminder of the narrator, i believe they used the hand held shot because they did not want to remind people of the fiction of the film but instead create a realistic approach making the audience blend the film into reality relating scenes from the film to modern events at the time.

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Throughout this chase scene they vary from the use of high and low angles depending on who is in shot at the time. They use high angles when focusing on the security chasing the protagonist, whereas, the low angles are used when showing the main characters running away. You could say they use this since if you are running away stereotypically you are weaker in the situation, however, Trainspotting is a film about social action and injustice and it could be used to show the hierarchy of society and how some people are better off and have more power than others and the battle between working class and upper class. Yet in the scene there is a part where “Renton” is running in a mid shot that is only slightly low. This is to emphasise that he has power since he is the one who stole from them and is in control of their belongings but he has not enough power that he has to run away. They also use a lot of point of view shots. This may be to bring the audience directly into the film through the eyes of “Renton'' and to blur the lines from reality. During the chase “Renton” is hit by a car and the camera switches to a first person point of view of the driver looking at “Renton” through the driver windshield. At this point we see the main character in a different perspective that we didnt get from the first view shots. This is the first time we really get a insight of his personality as we see him stare at the camera in a direct gaze and smile and laugh despite being hit by a car, this gives us the impression that he is a bit crazy and goofy and not a hardened criminal like we are made to believe in the beginning. Danny Boyle also says in an interview “no matter what stance you take, liberal, republican, we sideline junkies and make them lower than human and say goodbye, and this smashes them back into your field of vision”. This could explain why the use of low angles in the beginning of the film slowly changes to higher angles closer to the end as the film changes our opinions of addicts and makes us take a different belief on what and why people are the way they are and why they are addicted. Danny Boyle compared the heroin users in the film as the same as the men in society who are addicted to football since “we all want something that we can be certain on, in an uncertain world” and to the people on the film drugs are that certainty.

After the chase scene we cut to a fixed mid shot low angle of “Renton” smoking in a room. This switch from a hand held to a fixed camera position could show how he is stuck in place in the situation that he is living in and how he tries to run away but yet always ends up back in the same place he began. This switch of the use of the camera perfectly describes how people like “Renton” tries hard to run away and escape the life they live but always end up back in the same place in a fixed spot. During this sequence they use many mid shots to give a better understanding of the room and the characters situation during the film, this also gives us an insight of the characters lifestyle. There is also the use of close ups of “Renton’s” face, particularly when he is smoking. This draws attention to the habits and gives us more of an impression of the characters personality. The fact we can see how hard he inhales and how dead and unhealthy he looks tells us that he is not in the best state of mind, he also looks carefree which contrasts to the fast paced chase scene which makes the audience believe he has given up and is content where he is.



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