T2 Trainspotting film review

2017-01-30

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T2 Trainspotting review – still in a class A of their own.

4 / 5 stars

Danny Boyle’s long-awaited sequel to the era-defining Trainspotting is a vibrant and much welcomed reunion.

20 years on and whilst some things have changed, many have remained the same in true reflection to the original. ‘T2: Trainspotting’ finally gives us another glimpse at the continuing lives of Renton, Spud, Begbie and Sick Boy.

Whilst Renton’s been gone a long time, he’s returned to the only place he can call home. Everyone’s waiting for him, as is the past he can’t seem to escape. It’s time to choose life all over again.

Director Danny Boyle reunites Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle for ‘T2: Trainspotting’, the very long-awaited sequel to the classic original.

There are few cinema images more iconic than the sight of Ewan McGregor’s feet hitting the ground running to the frantic drumbeats of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life in the opening moments of Trainspotting, or the sound of a poppy T-shirt slogan (“Choose life”) being turned into a scabrous countercultural call to arms. Both are cheekily revisited in T2 Trainspotting, the long-awaited (or perhaps feared?) sequel that catches up with novelist Irvine Welsh’s antiheroes two decades later, and finds them ravaged not so much by heroin as by age, emasculation and an air of disappointment.

It’s easy to forget just how shocking Trainspotting’s scenes of intravenous heroin use were, and how much the language of horror cinema inflected its shiversome visions of dead babies crawling across ceilings. Yet more shocking still would be the spectre of the original film-makers reteaming for a belated cash-in sequel that somehow undermined the enduring legacy of the original. “It’d better not be shite” was the phrase that director Danny Boyle remembers hearing repeatedly on the set of T2 Trainspotting, whispered by everyone from cast to crew.

Thankfully, T2 is definitely not “shite”. While it may lack the vampiric teeth of its youthful predecessor, it is a worthy sequel to what has become a sacred original, respecting the rough edges of its forerunner while putting middle-aged flesh on the once raw ribcages of its oddly sympathetic subjects.

T2 will play to younger audiences who didn’t grow up with the 1996 original is anyone’s guess. It’s hardly likely to become a touchstone text for a new generation of cinemagoers.


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