Black Humor in Trainspotting

When one thinks about the movies made in Scotland, most will recall legendary action movies. But this country has had its fair share of comedy movies.


One may think that a movie about heroin addicts would not rely on comedy. But this movie, filmed in Scotland in 1996, was based on black comedy. It was directed by Danny Boyle. The cast was made up of: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Mac Donald.

The storyline is about a very serious theme, dealing with drugs, but it does have its funny moments. Not directly making fun of the topic, but more of bringing attention to drug addiction, as something that common people can end up having to deal with. It takes place during the 1980’s in Edinburgh. The storyline revolves around the struggles of poverty, intermingled with crime along with the addiction.


One may think that this movie would not have been all that popular overall, but it took a tenth position in the top 100 British films compiled by the British Film Institute. It was nominated for an academy award. This movie is not considered as traditional comedy, but rather as black comedy.

Black Comedy

Black comedy is often called dark comedy. This type of comedy creates a storyline that is comprised of a serious subject and not one that is considered to be humorous. Those who produce these types of comedy releases do so based on many different factors. Usually, it is to grab attention because it is based on topics often avoided. Another reason is to raise controversy in order to get people to talk about taboo subjects. It is a difficult type of comedy to embark upon because it means really being tuned into what public reaction will be. With all the accolades that Trainspotting has collected, it was definitely a black comedy success.

Charlie Chaplin once said, “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” So why take life so seriously when you can add a pinch of humor and take things in your stride. Add a dose of fun when things get dreary, take a break and treat yourself to a few minutes of fun.