T2 Trainspotting: Film Review

T2

I’m happy to put my hands up and say that I’ve never been a fan of the original Trainspotting. I watched it for the first time about three years ago and I didn’t understand the fuss because it was so dirty, gross and not enjoyable. So I wasn’t excited about the sequel from the announcement to the promo so imagine my surprise when it surpassed all my expectations – it is honestly better than the original.

When we last saw the boys 20 years ago, Renton (Ewan McGregor) had stolen his pals’ money and fled. He now lives in Amsterdam but returns to Edinburgh to see them again after two decades – except Begbie (Robert Carlyle) who is in prison. Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), now known as Simon, pretends to be Renton’s friend but he plans to get him involved in his brothel business plan, with his girlfriend Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova), and betray him to get revenge. Begbie breaks out of prison and is on the hunt for Renton and Spud (Ewen Bremner) is still trying to stay off heroin.

Danny Boyle strikes the perfect mix of nostalgia and originality. There are a lot of nods to the original as well as flashbacks to illustrate how their lives have changed or stayed the same, for better or worse. It does take a while to get going since they’re all living separate lives and need a reason to reunite but it’s still nice to see what they’ve been up to. The plot isn’t that strong and it feels more like an epilogue than its own movie but the script is spot-on, especially in terms of characterisation.

Renton was the lead before and obviously had the most screen time in this but McGregor, arguably the biggest star of the piece, is overshadowed by his co-stars who are given far more to do and much meatier parts. Miller is charismatic and I couldn’t stop watching him onscreen. His need for revenge drives a lot of the film, Begbie is as psychotic as always and gets plenty to do, mostly for comic effect, and the lovable Spud really comes into his own in the latter half.

The soundtrack is as awesome as the first and features many nods to previous soundtrack songs like Born Slippy. The characters and script are stronger than the first time and it is fun and enjoyable rather than the bleak, depressing drama of the predecessor. It’s so good that it almost compelled me to go back and rewatch the first – but let’s not get too carried away.

In cinemas Friday 27th January 

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