The Uncanny in Trainspotting
I am interested in analyzing the “repression” element of the term uncanny in the way it is used in the “cold turkey” scene of Trainspotting. Repression is the way in which one pushes a memory or feeling to the back of one’s mind, in the hope that it will never come about in one’s train of thought again. If it does however, it would create an uncomfortable and unnerving situation. Trainspotting revolves around characters that are aiming to repress life itself by shooting up heroin all hours of the day. The “cold turkey” scene of this movie in particular is the most uncanny scene of all because it encompasses many of the thoughts and emotions that Renton, the main character, is trying to repress, but is forced to face. Paranoia, depression, hallucinations, and zombie babies are all a part of this timeless scene that truly leaves the viewer in an uneasy and ambivalent state of mind. Danny Boyle does not waste time easing the audience into Renton’s withdrawal symptoms, but rather throws them right into the scene. From the second Renton is locked in his room, a feeling of uncanniness sweeps over the audience, for as awful as Renton may feel, the audience is left unsympathetic to the whole situation. Renton, as he states throughout the film, is a bad person, and the audience will never sympathize with the bad person. Therefore, as the scene progresses, there is a sense of cognitive dissonance between wanting to feel sorry for Renton, and feeling that he is getting what he deserves. The uncanniness of the scene continues as Renton’s bedroom comes into perspective. It takes place in his childhood room which is covered in trains. It is uncanny that Renton is locked in a room like this, for it perfectly embodies the theme of the movie. The word “trainspotting” has many meanings, all of which can be applied to Renton’s life. First, it literally stands for one who spots trains and takes note of when it comes and goes, which therefore translates...
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