T2: Trainspotting, the long-awaited sequel to Danny Boyle’s breakout hit, meets Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie twenty years on from the events of the first film, as they negotiate the difficulties of middle age.
Despite Irvine Welsh having found success with his sequels to the 1993 novel, there has been much apprehension about the idea of another Trainspotting film. The 1996 cult-classic was seen as best left untouched. However, Boyle has succeeded in making T2 a worthy continuation of the Trainspotting story, which does not quite reach the towering heights of its predecessor, but does not detract from the original in any way.
The film lacks the electric verve and energy of its predecessor, but this feels appropriate for the older incarnations of these characters. Lacking a specific focus for its narrative, the film plays out as a series of vignettes about middle-age, nostalgia and loss, which allows the film to concentrate on its characters and the effects of the preceding twenty years.
Danny Boyle’s direction is terrific, aided by Anthony Dod Mantle’s inventive cinematography and a great soundtrack, that doesn’t overuse songs from the first film. T2 is also very funny, with the standout moment coming in an ingenious scene in a British loyalist club.
“The film lacks the electric verve and energy of its predecessor, but this feels appropriate for the older incarnations of these characters”
The cast are also excellent. Clad in a superb collection of Adidas gear, Ewan McGregor is on top form as Renton, who returns to Edinburgh from his new life in Amsterdam, having ‘chosen life’ and found it to be just as uninspiring as he originally predicted. The main cast return to their roles with ease, each providing appropriates update to their iconic characters. However, it is a gentrified Edinburgh that provides the most significant change to the original. The run-down pubs and high-rises largely make way for stylish bars and apartments, increasing the alienating gloom felt by the quartet.
Poignant, funny and compelling, T2 is a welcome return to the Trainspotting world, despite not being quite as great as the first film.
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