Mark Renton, the most articulate, self-aware buddy in an Edinburgh clique of ne'er-do-wells and heroin addicts, is the anti-hero of 1996's Trainspotting, a lowdown glory of a movie directed by Danny Boyle. Trainspotting is partly a study of fractious friendship: In this Three Musketeers of the Scottish Hood, the three leads are All for One and One for All only when they're in joint pursuit of a score. Renton (Ewan McGregor) is sardonic and recessive. The aptly named clown Spud (Ewen Bremner) is a loose cannon of goodwill. The slick Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) is a bogus gutter philosopher who fixates on Sean Connery as the bellwether of Scottish culture. In some ways their chief antagonist turns out to be their supposed pal, a non-junkie named Begbie (Robert Carlyle) who's addicted only to violence. Screenwriter John Hodge and Boyle don't try to deny their trio's pharmaceutical ecstasy, and don't wring their hands over wasted youth, either. Instead they beckon us into the 3-D absurdity of narcotic altered states. Like their drug-revved artful dodgers, they're rebels without a pause. Call for showtimes. (R) MICHAEL SRAGOW

Sept. 9-14, 2011

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