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Ewan McGregor: A Viewer's Guide
The highs (and lows) of his career to date

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Velvet Goldmine’s opening epigram – “Although what you are about to see is a work of fiction, it should nevertheless be played at maximum volume” – could be equally well applied to Ewan McGregor’s CV. Everyone’s favourite Davidoff-scented Scotsman has always been capable of high volume. From Shallow Grave and Trainspotting to Moulin Rouge! and last year’s Beginners, the roles he’s picked have rarely lacked a subversive edge. This week’s Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, an altogether gentler adventure, gives the perfect excuse to delve into the McGregor tackle-box and sort the hot tuna from the rancid sprats.

WORDS PHIL DE SEMLYEN
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Ewan McGregor: A Viewer's Guide |

ESSENTIAL VIEWING: Trainspotting (1996)

Renton is still Ewan McGregor’s definitive film role – and if you’re from anywhere near America, where Trainspotting found itself subtitled, it’s probably still counted as his only foreign-language part. We’re only kinda kidding about that, because McGregor’s command of Irving Welsh’s slang lends the grimy smacktacular a syntax of all its own, although you’d need to be fluent in Leith jargon to decipher all of it. With his shaved head, toothpick-thin frame and deathly pallor, you wouldn’t know whether to feed Renton up or hose him down (after that loo scene, it’s definitely the latter). No matter, his easy charm fits in perfectly alongside Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner and Kevin McKidd, while his manic energy courses through the veins of Danny Boyle’s film. Choose life? ‘Course he did.

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Your Comments

1 'ONE TO AVOID'?! Oh, Brother...
The Phantom Menace is, in actuality, problem-reaction-solution in space. Jake Lloyd & Jar Jar Binks are corporate media patsies. More

Posted by Litshttam on Monday June 11, 2012, 01:25

2 A LIFE LESS ORDINARY?
Ewan McGregor plays a really likeable character & the movie itself is border line hilarious. The scene he has with Delroy Lindo in the forrest where he's told to "dig" is played to perfection- no movie heroics whatsoever- exactly what most of us would do but funny as hell! A shockingly underrated movie! Give it another try! More

Posted by hallbags on Thursday April 26, 2012, 09:19

3 A LIFE LESS ORDINARY?
Ewan McGregor plays a really likeable character & the movie itself is border line hilarious. The scene he has with Delroy Lindo in the forrest where he's told to "dig" is played to perfection- no movie heroics whatsoever- exactly what most of us would do but funny as hell! A shockingly underrated movie! Give it another try! More

Posted by hallbags on Thursday April 26, 2012, 09:19

4 C'mon
No one would have passed on Star Wars. More

Posted by tyrunn on Wednesday April 25, 2012, 12:56

5 Ghost WRiter
Am I the only one who actually hated the Ghost Writer? maybe it shiould have been the one to avoid. I know people will fawn over it because it's Polanski and as good a director as he is, this was just plain boring, with very little tension. The only part that made me gow 'oh wow' was the ending, that and Brosnan's performance were the only good things about it More

Posted by PaoloCorleone on Monday April 23, 2012, 14:09

6 RE: Bollox
ORIGINAL: Evil_Bob ORIGINAL: Evil_Bob Oh come on for gods sake. Its 2012. Its been 13 years. Have we not got over the initial knee-jerk reactions and realised that The Phantom Menace is not ACTUALLY the worst film ever made. Especially seeing as you've alluded to the existence of Cassandra's Dream and The Island in the very same piece. Even if you do misguidedly believe that this is THE worst film he's ever been in surely its just a cop-out to use TPM instead of drawing attention to these afore-mentioned stinkers. Y'know. Just for a bit of a variety. Might even make a decent article. Laziness. Pure bloody laziness. By the way he's also been in Amelia, Blue Juice, Stormbreaker, Black Hawk Down and Velvet fucking Goldmine. All of which are total shite. All of the films you mentioned were infinitely better films than The Phantom Menace thougMore

Posted by Evil_Bob on Saturday April 21, 2012, 19:59

7 RE: Bollox
L: Evil_Bob quote] ORIGINAL: Evil_Bob Oh come on for gods sake. Its 2012. Its been 13 years. Have we not got over the initial knee-jerk reactions and realised that The Phantom Menace is not ACTUALLY the worst film ever made. Especially seeing as you've alluded to the existence of Cassandra's Dream and The Island in the very same piece. Even if you do misguidedly believe that this is THE worst film he's ever been in surely its just a cop-out to use TPM instead of drawing attention to these afore-mentioned stinkers. Y'know. Just for a bit of a variety. Might even make a decent article. Laziness. Pure bloody laziness. By the way he's also been in Amelia, Blue Juice, Stormbreaker, Black Hawk Down and Velvet fucking Goldmine. All of which are total shite. ll of the films you mentioned were infinitely better films than The Phantom Menace though... ver seen Velvet Goldmine? Thought not es I actually own it on DVD...whyMore

Posted by waltham1979 on Saturday April 21, 2012, 12:57

8 RE: Bollox
quote] ORIGINAL: Evil_Bob Oh come on for gods sake. Its 2012. Its been 13 years. Have we not got over the initial knee-jerk reactions and realised that The Phantom Menace is not ACTUALLY the worst film ever made. Especially seeing as you've alluded to the existence of Cassandra's Dream and The Island in the very same piece. Even if you do misguidedly believe that this is THE worst film he's ever been in surely its just a cop-out to use TPM instead of drawing attention to these afore-mentioned stinkers. Y'know. Just for a bit of a variety. Might even make a decent article. Laziness. Pure bloody laziness. By the way he's also been in Amelia, Blue Juice, Stormbreaker, Black Hawk Down and Velvet fucking Goldmine. All of which are total shite. ll of the films you mentioned were infinitely better films than The Phantom Menace though... ver seen Velvet Goldmine? Thought not More

Posted by Evil_Bob on Saturday April 21, 2012, 07:17

9 RE: Bollox
I gotta agree with those who sighed at the sight of having rs The Phantom Menacethe 'One to Avoid'. In 1999 /b] gave it 4 stars - quite rightly saying that it wasn't the second coming but it was a good blockbuster. The demotion to 3 stars a little later on was expected and okay, fair enough. But then to go further and decide that TPM is a 2 star film in 3D was bollocks of the highest order. To say that TPM is the equivalent to hipinsult of the highest order. Now to see it pop up here is sad. /b], I don't think this often but a little shame on you. Sure Ewan doesn't have a great deal to do, The Phantom Menace is eson and by heck does he add some much needed class throughout the whole film. But Ewan/Obi-Wan is there ready to take over for Episodes II and III and as someone posted already he 'holds them together'. And most of Empire's readers are far more likely to have seen and want to see The Phantom Menace than most of Ewan's filmography all truth be told. More

Posted by JediBobster on Friday April 20, 2012, 17:11

10 Bollox
Sorry folks, I swear I only pressed enter once! More

Posted by james riley on Friday April 20, 2012, 16:20

11 Bollox
Sorry folks, I swear I only pressed enter once! More

Posted by james riley on Friday April 20, 2012, 16:10

12 Bollox
Sorry folks, I swear I only pressed enter once! More

Posted by james riley on Friday April 20, 2012, 16:09

13 Bollox
Sorry folks, I swear I only pressed enter once! More

Posted by james riley on Friday April 20, 2012, 16:08

14 Nightwatch
Personally I liked Nightwatch a lot (not the russian vampire film) also had Josh Brolin in I think More

Posted by james riley on Friday April 20, 2012, 16:07

15 Nightwatch
Personally I liked Nightwatch a lot (not the russian vampire film) also had Josh Brolin in I think More

Posted by james riley on Friday April 20, 2012, 16:04

16 Nightwatch
Personally I liked Nightwatch a lot (not the russian vampire film) also had Josh Brolin in I think More

Posted by james riley on Friday April 20, 2012, 16:03

17 RE: Empire, You have sold your soul
L: gazart You have got to be kidding to pick that that as the the movie to be avoided. Although I only read through it just to confirm you did pick it. Too predictable you are these day. The day you 'altered' you star rating for the Star Wars Prequels was the day I had enough of your pandering to the vocal few who keep banging on about their raped childhood and stopped buying you magazine which I had been for years. I'd buy the things again if every few months you didn't wind me up with some stupid prequel jib. Give it a bloody rest. release of the Phantom Menace to the average punter who has no strong childhood connection with the OT (I do by the way) just shows when you take away the insane hype from '99 the film stands very well next to any of the other SW film including the oh so 'sacred' originals.me perspective Empire and move on to something else and stop the digs every chance you get. YOu have no problem putting star wars on you cover... oh wait multiply covers per isMore

Posted by horribleives on Friday April 20, 2012, 14:22

18 RE: Empire, You have sold your soul
L: gazart You have got to be kidding to pick that that as the the movie to be avoided. Although I only read through it just to confirm you did pick it. Too predictable you are these day. The day you 'altered' you star rating for the Star Wars Prequels was the day I had enough of your pandering to the vocal few who keep banging on about their raped childhood and stopped buying you magazine which I had been for years. I'd buy the things again if every few months you didn't wind me up with some stupid prequel jib. Give it a bloody rest. The re-release of the Phantom Menace to the average punter who has no strong childhood connection with the OT (I do by the way) just shows when you take away the insane hype from '99 the film stands very well next to any of the other SW film including the oh so 'sacred' originals. Get some perspective Empire and move on to something else and stop the digs every chance you get. YOu have no problem putting star wars on you cover... oh wait multiplyMore

Posted by waltham1979 on Friday April 20, 2012, 14:08

19 phillip morris
i personally though I Love You Phillip Morris was worthy of a nod. very good film More

Posted by stucker on Friday April 20, 2012, 13:37

20 Irvine Welsh.........
...not Irving. For Shame! More

Posted by Tosh on Friday April 20, 2012, 11:56

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