Frances Winston writes that this film is more authentic than the first, and you will really enjoy it if you already like the characters from first time round
Directed by: Danny Boyle Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle
I was pretty shocked to learn that it had been two decades since Trainspotting was released, but it has indeed, which definitely made me and several of my friends feel old.
On the plus side though, it also means we are far more mature (stop laughing) just like the characters from the original are in this catch up! Or not… If you’ve seen the original (and most people have) you’ve probably already gathered that straight and narrow are not positions organic to the likes of Mark Renton (McGregor) , Sickboy (Lee-Miller) and Spud (Bremner) – and that’s before you even consider Begbie (Carlyle).
However, their lives (if not their mentalities) have moved on sufficiently to ensure that this story offers something new, rather than a rehash of what went before.
If you are one of the few who haven’t seen the first film, spoiler alert!
Twenty years after ripping off his friends to the tune of £4,000 each, Renton returns to Edinburgh, having lived in Amsterdam in the intervening period. Although he seems to have managed to ‘choose life’, some of his friends haven’t been so lucky, and Spud is completely down on his luck, while Sickboy (now going by Simon) is eking out a living blackmailing people he videos having illicit sex.
On top of that, the psychotic Begbie is still holding a grudge. Despite this, Renton hangs around, and soon gets sucked back into the micro world of opiates and off the wall ideas that his old gang inhabit.
It goes without that saying that T2 Trainspotting doesn’t have the charm of the original, which was extremely fresh at the time (as were its cast) but this feels far more authentic, and organic, than most sequels.
This is perhaps down to the fact that it wasn’t rushed out to make a quick buck. Or perhaps it’s the fact that they managed to reassemble the original cast, despite the fact that they are all big stars these days. It also helps that there is a lot of love for these characters – despite the fact that they should actually be extremely unlikeable.
All of the actors step into the roles seamlessly second time round, and you will find it hard to believe that it has been so long since they last inhabited their skin.
Bremner in particular has had his role hugely beefed up, and deservedly so. Meanwhile, McGregor and Lee-Miller portray Renton and Simon’s tempestuous bromance with a fantastic tension and chemistry.
Director Boyle has kept many of the trademarks of the original, with quirky, almost hallucinogenic camerawork in places, and some scenes that blur the line between fantasy and reality.
Like its predecessor, this also contains a stomping soundtrack that will have you dancing along in your seat, and there is plenty of humour in the bleakness of the characters’ situations.
You don’t have to have seen the original to enjoy this, but if you already have affection for the characters, you will get more from it. This is a perfect follow-up to what has become a modern classic, and it is a huge deal of fun. It will gross you out while making you giggle, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
In Cinemas January 27th!