Great Uses of Songs in Movies: “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed in “Trainspotting”

Trainspotting is kind of a messed up movie to begin with, but it seems to get more so when you really listen to it with Lou Reed’s song Perfect Day. While the song has been used in other films and in other ways this seems to sum up a day in the life of a drug user that unfortunately gets a dose that takes him a little too far under. It’s almost like watching the falling scene in Get Out but from a very different vantage point. Renton is by and large a guy that just can’t quit on his own and needs a bit of help, but OD-ing is something that seems to be a little bit extreme. And if that wasn’t bad enough, his dealer isn’t coldhearted enough to just let him die in his flat so he calls him a cab and then sends him off to the emergency room where his life will be decided by whether or not the medical staff can get to him quickly enough.

The cabbie, who’s also less than cold enough to let him just die in his cab, hauls him out, grabs the cab fare, and is off. Thankfully it’s not long before Renton is picked up from the front of the Emergency room and taken to a stretcher where he’s then wheeled in to the hospital past many onlookers, several of them sporting the different variations of black leather coats that you tend to see in English-based movies so often. That’s kind of weird isn’t it? During that time frame you almost always saw someone in a black leather jacket if the movie was taking place anywhere in or around England in a modern day film. But anyway, getting back to the clip.

Renton is given a shot that wakes him up but the worst part is yet to come when his parents have to come and bail him out. They take him home, lock him in his room, and from that point on he has to quit whether he likes it or not as the withdrawals start to come on again. At this point you would think anyone that’s ever been through such a thing would say that “I’m done with it” but many heroin addicts keep going back for that high, content to lose themselves in the milky clouds that get shot into their veins and simply take the world away. I suppose it would be a perfect day if you couldn’t feel the effects of a life that you’re basically eradicating by shooting a syringe full of liquid poison into your body. But quite honestly there are more people that would rather see it as a perfect day since they’re still alive and fully in control of themselves.

How Renton didn’t suffer brain damage from being dragged down the stairs and then out of a cab is kind of amazing, but hey, movie magic. In the real world the back of his skull might not fare so well.

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