T2 Trainspotting 2 Review
Take a trip down memory lane with Danny Boyle’s long awaited sequel to the classic Trainspotting.
T2 Trainspotting picks up 20 years after Renton did a runner. Now he’s got to face the music and jump feet first back into a life he thought he’d long forgotten.Danny Boyle's film about four heroin addicts found itself among the list of titles falling into the cult classic category. Set in Edinburgh Trainspotting followed Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner) Tommy (Kevin McKidd) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) as they stole, got high and got drunk. Based on the best selling novel by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting was weird, creepy and utterly awesome. With freaky babies crawling on ceilings and toilet diving just a couple of the lasting images, it was going to take a lot to top. 20 years later and here we are: T2 Trainspotting. Loosely based on Irvine Welsh’s follow-up novel Porno, Renton, now aged 46, married and free of drugs and Scotland makes a comeback after a health incident causes him to return to the homeland.
Sick Boy, or Simon as he now calls himself, has hooked up with lady of the night Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova) and now runs a pub; Spud is still the same sweet Spud, struggling to get by after the revelation of daylight savings finally dawns on him; and Begbie, well, he’s been busy at Her Majesty’s pleasure but is still the same old mean spirited and foul mouthed Begbie. So, back in his old haunting ground Renton soon picks up where he left with the boys, but if you remember correctly, they didn’t exactly part ways on the best of terms. Naturally there are some ill feelings towards Renton’s return and thoughts of revenge linger in the air. Despite this, the trip down memory lane commences, packed with the occasional scam, a few class A drugs here and there, a robbery and the odd beating.
It was always going to be a challenge to try and come up with a film that even came close to making the same impact that Trainspotting made. The lasting memory of the horrific yet strangely intoxifying energy that it managed to harness as we watched the leading characters search for what it meant to be young and tried to figure out how to get by is still very prominent. All the little details and some, not so subtle, nods to the original are here but they don’t overwhelm or detract from this new chapter in the boys’ lives.
T2 isn’t quite as visually outrageous but there is definitely the sense that you’re watching a sequel of sorts, from the play with shadows to mid scene freezes, this is 100% Boyle. T2 is modern and in-keeping with today's world, Renton’s ‘Choose Life’ speech that ended Trainspotting is here but updated with things that are consuming modern youth but delivered with as much impact as it did the first time around. Showcasing some beautiful Scottish scenery mixed in with the down and out high-rise estates, visually the film makes an impact reminding us of how far some of the characters have come. The soundtrack harks back to the nineties just enough to give us all a taste of life back then.
It’s the perfect mix of sad, funny and disturbing
What were once our 20-something protagonists, are now approaching middle age and what have they got to show for it apart from track marks and criminal records? Not a lot. So Boyle and his brilliant scriptwriter, John Hodge, do their best to use our older but not so much wiser characters to reflect upon the past and look back on it with fond memories knowing that most of them got through, practically unscathed. Reuniting the same original cast from 1996 could not have worked better. Everyone is on top form and seems to have slipped back into their old roles with ease. Yes, they’re all a bit older but that hasn’t taken anything away from their performances, in fact it works perfectly within the story. T2 doesn’t try to beat what it’s predecessor managed to muster up, in fact it’s almost trying to keep up, and I think that’s the point.
T2 is a walk down memory lane for the audience and characters alike. Renton looks back on his life and how the people he once surrounded himself with made him into the person he is today. Reliving some of the memories and ghosts from Trainspotting, figuratively and literally, Renton and Co. try to figure out what life is all about while the audience watch as they all try to rebuild friendships and find their place in today's world. It might not be quite the intense trip that Trainspotting left you with, but despite being simpler and far more tame, T2 Trainspotting will definitely leave you with at least a mild buzz.
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