What better way is there for a story warning about the dangers of drug addiction than to show terrifying examples of the damage it can do?
- Good god. The withdrawal scene. Renton's been locked up in his room and is being made to go cold turkey so that he doesn't end up suffering a fate even worse because of drug addiction, and what he ends up going through is plain terrifying. He begins to have hallucinations, like Spud kicking a door with his feet chained together, Dale Winton asking his parents questions about HIV on a game show, Tommy showing his addiction and love for opiates and Begbie under the bed covers. But then comes baby Dawn crawling towards him slowly on the ceiling... dear GOD. And then, when she's directly above Renton (who by this point is screaming in terror), she does a 180 degree head spin and then drops down on Renton. Of course, all of this is Renton's mile-high mind seeing things, but it's got to be one of the most brutally realistic and outright terrifying reconstructions of an opiate withdrawal ever put to film.
Mark Renton: I don't feel a sickness yet. But it's in the post, that's for sure. I'm in the junkie limbo at the moment. Too ill to sleep. Too tired to stay awake. But the sickness is on its way. Sweat, chills, nausea, pain and craving. Need like nothing else I've ever known will soon take hold of me. It's on its way.
- Oh, and Renton's in constant, unbearable pain throughout the entire withdrawal.
Mark Renton: DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN! STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!
- The scariest part about this is that it's only a reconstruction of what drug addicts actually have to go through if they choose to go cold turkey, which they'd be better off doing unless they want to endure a fate even worse than that. Just imagine for a second what they'd be going through... *shudder*
- And let's not forget about Renton's screams...
- The echoes of Dawn's cries as she begins to crawl towards Renton.
- In the book, it's even worse, as Hallucination!Dawn speaks, telling Renton that she died a virgin and repeatedly, and rapidly, offers him a blowjob.
- Dawn's death can come across as both this and Tear Jerker, because her junkie parents had their mind on filling their bloodstream with smack rather than looking after her.Mark Renton: Nothing could have been further from the truth. In point of fact, nothing was going to be just fine. On the contrary, everything was going to be bad. Bad? I mean, everything was going to be even worse than it already was.
Mark Renton: But the good times couldn't last forever.
- Alison's blood-curdling screams when she finds out what happened.
- The chilling, lifeless stare that Dawn gives out. And the way in which the camera slowly moves to reveal it all.
- Up until this point, the film had been showing all the joys and wonders of getting high. Then from here on, it gets serious and highlights all of the real problems that drug addiction can cause.
- Frank Begbie. An Axe-Crazy psychopath with a Hair-Trigger Temper that can be set off by almost anything. Begbie doesn't so much have a Berserk Button, as a whole panel of them. It doesn't help that he seems to love violence to an almost sexual level. Even in the later books when he's learned to control his temper, he becomes more frightening, as the people he does kill in The Blade Artist and Dead Men's Trousers, he does so in a more calculating and sadistic manner than simply stabbing or beating them like in the early books.