T2 Trainspotting (2017)

T2 Trainspotting
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Based on: Irvine Welsh’s Porno
Sequel to: Trainspotting
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan, Shirley Henderson, James Cosmo, Irvine Welsh
Seen on: 13.3.2017

Twenty years after the events of Trainspotting, the now clean Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to Scotland for the first time. He wants to see his family and to catch up with Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), though he’d rather not see Begbie (Robert Carlyle). He suspects that Begbie is still very angry with him from when he left. Simon is angry, too, but once they get over the inital anger, they are back to making plans of how to make their lives more than it is. But the past can’t be left behind that easily.

T2 Trainspotting captured most of the mood of Trainspotting perfectly, although it does lack some of the inescapable energy of the first one. That being said, I’m very content with this sequel so many years later.

T2 took many more liberties from its literary basis than its predecessor. Not only does it take place 10 years later, the plot is barely recognizable and the new characters are pretty much dropped. I didn’t mind the changes for the most part – I thought they connected well enough with the narrative intention – but the ending was a little weaker in the film for me. It just didn’t work that well. One thing that remained the same as that Spud got more room in the narrative (though still comparatively little). Since he is probably my favorite character, I really appreciated that.

But it was generally great to revisit the characters and they still work very well, as characters and also as a group. It felt like both the actors and the filmmakers also really relished the chance to dig into that world again. There are also many direct and indirect call-backs to the first film which mostly work pretty well.

Visually, too, T2 has a lot to offer again. I could have done without (most of) the freezeframes, but otherwise, it’s a gorgeous looking film. The cast is great again, of course, and the soundtrack may not quite be on the same level with that of the first film, but that’s also a really challenging task.

It seems only fair that a film that looks at characters twenty years later wouldn’t have the same youthful energy or sense of urgency as the film twenty years earlier. T2 still has plenty of drive, but it is also more settled and less chaotic. And I can’t help but feel a little sad about that, regardless of the good result.

Summarizing: not only a nice bit of nostalgia, but a good film.

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