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Trainspotting: Diane

Wise beyond her years, especially when it comes to men

Main image of Trainspotting: Diane

When Renton's libido returns after months of redundancy, it is Diane (Kelly Macdonald) who sets it alight. Emerging from a nightclub after shunning the advances of a clubber, she is pursued by Renton with an air of desperation.

She responds to his pathetic chat-up attempt with an icily cruel speech that leaves him totally crestfallen. When she leaves her taxi door open for Renton to follow, it becomes apparent that the knock-back may have been merely a device to establish sexual power over him.

This, it seems, is indicative of many of the female characters in Trainspotting. Spud's girlfriend has refused to sleep with him during their six-week relationship, but later confesses to Lizzy that she's "been desperate for a shag but watching him suffer is just too much fun." Both women are seen to belittle and sexually manipulate their men.

When Diane emerges from her bedroom after a night of passion with Renton, she has swapped her sparkling silver dress for a school uniform. The realisation that she is an underage schoolgirl is at once amusing and disturbing for both Renton and the audience. We empathise with the sense of urgency Renton has to escape her or face the consequences. Diane has all the power in this situation - if found out, Renton would be branded a sexual deviant and Diane a victim - she knows this and is able to blackmail him into another meeting.

It is also Diane who manages to highlight the inadequacies of the main protagonists. They shoot heroin, listen to Iggy Pop and seem stuck in Edinburgh. The young teenager, with her finger on the cultural pulse, shows how out-of-date their pastimes are: "Times are changing, music is changing, even drugs are changing," she lectures.

In the pursuit of sexual fulfillment, Trainspotting's male characters become slaves to their hormones, dropping their normal confident fa├žade and risking humiliation. In Irvine Welsh's novel, and Danny Boyle's film, the women, it seems, are more than happy to oblige.

Paul Clarke

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