Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


‘I'm going to be just like you.’ These are the final words uttered by anti-hero Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) in the final scene of Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996) as he walks across a bridge in central London armed with nothing but a holdall full of stolen money and a newly unshakable sense of self-belief. His now-famous closing monologue delivered direct to camera, Renton's image blurs then dissolves as he marches ever closer to the lens, threatening to burst through the auditorium's fourth wall. At a textual level, both Mark's warning to the viewer and the manner of its visualisation are indicative of Trainspotting's remarkable ability to satisfy, yet also subvert, the vicarious thrill-seeking that lured so many to its cinematic safari tour of post-industrial, drug-ravaged, late twentieth-century Scotland. Yet an extra-textual resonance also accrues to Renton's self-proclaimed transformation, implying as it does an elision of difference between viewed object and viewing subject. Trainspotting was a remarkable critical and commercial success, the world's most profitable film of 1996 when profitability is calculated by setting original production costs - £1.7 million - against eventual global box-office receipts, in this instance some $72 million (Dyja 1997; Street 2000). Yet that film was by no means the only encouraging development experienced within Scottish film culture in 1995-6. This brief period witnessed the advent of National Lottery funds to subsidise UK feature film production and the unprecedented inward investment and international publicity generated by visiting Scottish-themed, Hollywood-financed productions Rob Roy (Michael Caton-Jones, 1995) and Braveheart (Mel Gibson, 1995).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cinema of Small Nations
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780748630929
ISBN (Print)9780748625369
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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