T2 Trainspotting – Movie Review
Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Irvine Welsh (novel), John Hodge (adaptation)
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald, Jonny Lee Miller
At the end of Trainspotting, Mark Renton left Edinburgh and his old life behind. He had stolen a bag filled with money and departed for places unknown. We now discover he was living in Amsterdam and was seemingly happy there. After 20 years, Mark returns to Edinburgh for reasons unknown. The first person he visits is Spud (Ewen Bremner) who is seemingly at the end of his tether. Still a junkie despite having tried to kick a number of times. The next person he visits is his oldest friend Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), a man who hasn’t forgiven him despite the passage of time.
Trainspotting (1996) was an iconic film of the 90s. There are several films each decade that transcend their role as light entertainment and become something more. They affect music, fashion and culture in general. It also helped launch the career of several of the actors involved with both Jonny Lee Miller and Ewan McGregor becoming major stars. Danny Boyle had already directed Shallow Grave, but this was his first major hit. He went on to direct works such as 28 days later… and Slumdog Millionaire.
Despite the novel Trainspotting (1993) having a sequel in the form of Porno (2002), the team managed to resist the temptation to make a sequel to the film. That is until now, with the original cast, director and writing team returning to recreate the magic. Screenplay writer John Hodge took the original novel Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and transformed it into a film. It was a major reworking of the original text and an impressive job. This new work again credits Irvine Welsh with writing the original novel and Hodge with adapting it for the screen, but the truth is something else, with this new work bearing little resemblance to Porno. The passage of time is much greater than between the novels for one. The film uses elements of Porno but is quite distinct.
There are many moments of nostalgia for the first film. Scenes where the film either recreates or reminisces about the good old days when we were junkies! A group of middle aged men looking back at their youth with a mix of trepidation and admiration. In fact, this is actually the film makers and actors recreating their first big hit! While there is a plot, it seems loosely assembled with many of the scenes feeling like isolated incidents rather than part of a greater whole. Despite this, there are several great moments that will no doubt become iconic in their own right. The film doesn’t have the cohesive strength or style of its predecessor but in truth that was never likely. It’s still enjoyable, but mostly for the new elements rather than for the memories of yesteryear!