Nearly 21 years ago, the cult classic “Trainspotting,” based on the book of the same name, was released to the world.
The movie tells the story of the misadventures and betrayal of a group of heroin-addicted friends.
It glorified drug use with creative and stunning visuals while simultaneously showing the real consequences.
Now, director Danny Boyle has returned with the original 1996 cast to deliver a much-anticipated sequel, “T2 Trainspotting.”
The movie centers around Renton (Ewan McGregor) returning to his hometown after his mother’s death and confronting those he has wronged after stealing $16,000 from his friends.
However, 21 years is a long time. How do you recreate the magic from the first film?
Boyle’s answer is that you simply can’t.
“T2 Trainspotting” forgets the idea that it should meet the expectations built up over 20 years.
Boyle has incorporated fanservice, references and nostalgia in a way to make an almost satirical statement about modern filmmaking.
Boyle takes iconic shots from the original “Trainspotting” and mirrors them in this new film. However, these shots have been affected by time. Sometimes it’s a missing family member or the fact that the characters are just older.
From the beginning, “T2 Trainspotting” has an obvious visual difference. “Trainspotting” had a gritty aesthetic that represented the reality of heroin addiction. “T2 Trainspotting” has an intentionally clean, more polished feel.
This is also represented in the musical montages in both movies. In the first film, montages were visually interesting. But in the sequel there is a montage of Renton riding a train. Arguably the only visually interesting montage in the movie is a scene where Renton and Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), Renton’s old best friend, try heroin one last time.
All these changes are because the characters have changed as people. Boyle has changed as a director alongside his audience.
With every classic movie, there is a hardcore fanbase. But Boyle pushes the idea that there shouldn’t be.
Later in the movie, Simon says to Renton, “You’re here for nostalgia, you’re a tourist in your own youth.”
Spud (Ewen Bremner), the goofy comic relief, writes about the stories of his youth, and Begbie (Robert Carlyle), the violent antagonist, relishes in the stories about him.
“T2 Trainspotting” is a statement that you shouldn’t live in the past.
On top of intelligent and thoughtful writing, “T2 Trainspotting” is full of humor and intense action, including some scenes that make you cringe, like a certain scene that involves vomit. The creative cinematography and editing keep the movie at a fast pace.
The only criticisms I have are the slightly generic ending full of cliché action and distracting product placement for Adidas throughout the film.
Overall, Boyle has crafted a well-thought out film that challenges its contemporaries.
In a world of constant remakes, sequels and reboots, “T2 Trainspotting” rises above the average cash grab.