Choose secretly hoping it’s just as gritty as the original, choose heart-breaking plot lines not for the faint-hearted, choose feeling every emotion under the sun, and choose to not be disappointed. Choose T2.
With every legendary film comes the problem of the sequel. On this basis, however, if you leave it 20 years the problem seems to solve itself.
Two decades after the release of Trainspotting………..
Renton, clean from drugs and seemingly normal (ha!), returns to Scotland for the first time since he double crossed his friends and stole their share of the drug deal.
Sick Boy is running a blackmailing scheme; he’s in love with the prostitute he regularly pimps out (some kind of love), and he is also addicted to….cocaine instead of heroin.
Spud is still addicted to H, having lost his partner and child due to his addiction.
And Begbie is in jail…until he gets out: cue fear and trembling all round.
Despite being 20 years older and possibly wiser, in true Frankie Boyle form the foursome are still fighting gruesome battles against growing old, crippling nostalgia, drug addiction, family issues and, of course, each other.
The gruesome aspect is right there from the start (and it doesn’t get up and leave), but the film is intelligent enough to have us laughing – all the way from small giggles to big guffaws – and covering our eyes at the same time.
There are also touching moments that will have you feeling heartbroken. Danny Boyle’s ability to balance happy and sad is one of his great gifts as a director.
Amongst the comedy and the heartbreak comes the nostalgic freeze frames and the juxtaposing of screen text and effects. I think the two balanced out nicely. The freeze frames were a welcome nod to the original and the on screen effects were a fresh look in to the future.
The music offered a beautifully wistful feel without trying too hard to appear up-to-the-minute. Snippets of the legendary Born Slippy came in at just the right moments; and Renton’s vinyl collection adds something extra to the closing sequence.
Trainspotting is a hard film to compete with because it was revolutionary for its era. The cultural impact of T2 is unlikely to be as great, but it carries that zesty pessimism which made the original so moreish.