Oh it’s such a perfect day.
Choose life. Choose a movie. Choose a cinema. Choose being excited about the sequel. Choose pretending to be excited to fit in. Choose tweeting screenshots of your Spotify playlist like you’re the people’s DJ. Choose chatting fucking nonsense about the original to seem like a true fan. Choose buying posters, t-shirts, DVDs and CDs. Choose illegal streaming and downloads. Choose letting it all go at the end of the day with your 15th vodka and Born Slippy in the background. Choose your future. Choose T2 Trainspotting.
Set 20 years after the first film, Renton returns to Edinburgh with a new perspective on life, looking to build bridges with his former mates. It’s a shame they may have other ideas.
The fantastic four return in fine form. Ewan McGregor is back as Renton, however things have changed. The character has moved on quite a bit and so has McGregor, but it’s a fantastic performance that really develops the character. Ewen Bremner, who plays Spud, is potentially the best of all, in a more heartbreaking sense. Our first meeting in the sequel shows him to still be on heroin, and very much struggling. The film takes his character to new heights though, all amplified by Bremner’s humanising take on someone that could be shrugged off as scum.
Jonny Lee Miller, who’s attracted significant attention on social media, is back as resident Bond-buff Sick Boy, still shifty and trying his hand at dodgy deals. It’s almost charming to see him still at the rob, showing the world of Trainspotting to not be a perfect one by any means. Miller’s performance is engaging and importantly, like the first, funny, fuelling the nostalgia.
Then there’s Begbie (a favourite of mine) in the glorious form of Robert Carlyle. Now it goes without saying that they’ve amped up his craziness for some laughs – when we first see him he’s unhinged and doesn’t refrain from his trademark use of the C-word. Throughout the film he remains pretty mental, but there are glimpses of emotional development. Carlyle’s reliably natural performance made me feel right at home, along with the rest of the cast.
Now, the answers to two big questions: is it a cash grab? No. Is it worth the wait? Oh yes. Danny Boyle’s reunion with the material is as enjoyable as I hoped for. He utilised the 20 year gap as a plot device rather than simply brushing over it; a true service to the fans who are often passionate about Trainspotting.
Also, his direction is absolutely stellar. The only complaint to note is a lack of that ball-kicking feeling the first gave us all, especially in a particular scene involving a cot. Aside from an asphyxiation-turned-puke scene which is hilariously dark, it doesn’t hit overly hard, but perhaps we’re hardened as an audience now. The soundtrack may not be quite as iconic as the first’s, but how could you do that without Underworld or Lou Reed? It has to be said though, Silk by Wolf Alice is destined to be a huge hit thanks to T2.
Gorgeous cinematography across the board also, whether we’re looking across the capital’s landscape, or in a neon-soaked bathroom. Overall it looks much crisper and sleek than the first, which can be argued on either side depending on your views. Furthermore, is it better than the first? No, of course it’s not. But that’s purely because the first was and remains a cultural phenomenon, of huge importance to Scottish culture. But, it’s fair to say, T2 is simply brilliant.
To sum it up…
Let out the sigh of relief, T2 is outstanding. The cast are expectedly flawless and Boyle is on form – could be one of the best hits you’ll get this year.
Rating: PURE DYNAMITE!
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Author: Cameron Frew