Director: Danny Boyle
After twenty years Danny Boyle brings back Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie back to our screens as only he can. This was the only way this could ever have worked. Everybody had to return for this to be a success. Thankfully they did and rather than a lot of the films that have recently been given over due sequels, Trainspotting delivers a film worthy of the legacy that the first film left back in the nineties.
Well, it’s simple enough and if you haven’t seen the first film I’m not sure what you would be doing watching this in the first place but if you ever needed a reason to watch Trainspotting then here’s as bigger reason as anyone could every give you. Having betrayed his friends some twenty years ago, stealing £16k of ill-gotten gains Mark Renton (McGregor) returns to Edinburgh. Renton is fifteen years clean of the heroin that blighted his life and that of so many around him. He looks up Spud (Bremner) and despite Renton trying to do right by him before leaving he’s still down on his luck and still a junkie. Sick Boy or Simon (Miller) as he is now more maturely known is also not fairing much better running the old family pub which is barely worth opening with an interesting sideline in extortion. Begbie (Carlyle) is currently spending time at her majesty’s pleasure but is executing a plan for freedom which couldn’t come at a worse time for Renton. Despite the passing of time the betrayal has not been forgotten and certainly not forgiven. That along with some new problems presented by the passage of time is what the film adds to the already established events of the past. The question is where will it lead them this time and more importantly how will it end?
Well what can you say here, not unfittingly all four characters slip back into their roles like junkies back into their habits. You couldn’t associate anyone else with these roles and why would you want to try? They are precisely the characters you remember just with slightly different outlooks, particularly in Spud’s case. It’s nice to see things spin more in Spud’s favour but it’s also one of the falling down points the film carries, more on that later.
The original film is very personal to so many, to the generation of twenty somethings Trainspotting was given to it is very much their film, although quite how many of them directly related to the heroin addiction is hard to say but as the film points out the film is about being an addict but choosing something else to be addicted to. It defined that time beautifully alongside the Brit-Pop era and it was a film everybody of a certain age was talking about. The same applies here, it’s hard to see how this follow up will attract new fans as it’s so intrinsically linked to the first film that it has no chance of winning as a stand alone movie. Danny Boyle has done well to maintain the very dark outlook of the first film and whilst it’s not as funny it fills the shortfalls with just the right blend of nostalgia. T2 also tones down on some of the more surreal moments from the first film quite considerably. There are some holes and unclear links in events as things pan out which just seemed a little lazy in their construction, for instance the relationship between Mark and Simon and the inevitable love interest that splits them, but this can be overlooked as the whole thing is just suck a joyous return of such much-loved characters.
4/5 Stars: The delay was worth the wait.