First there was an opportunity, and then there was a betrayal. Danny Boyle returns to a film that first put him on the proverbial map.
It has been 20 years since “Trainspotting” was released, and now we get to see where the characters from that movie ended up after all this time in “T2 Trainspotting.”
For a little bit of background, “Trainspotting” is on the list of my favorite movies, so when I saw the trailer I was very concerned. This concern was alleviated slightly when I saw Boyle was attached as the director.
The first film ended with Ewan McGregor’s character, Renton, ripping his group of friends off, and running away with a large score of money.
We are reintroduced to Renton as he is running on a treadmill in a gym with jump cuts to scenes of a suburban world. This is ironic for the character as Renton spent the entirety of the first film trying his best to stay away from the normal world.
After this short scene the rest of the surviving main characters from the first film are reintroduced. Begbie is serving a lengthy prison sentence, Sick Boy is running a blackmail racket and poor Spud is still a heroin junkie.
None of them are happy to see Renton when he does return to his hometown, Begbie even has a murderous intent, and they all berate him for ripping them off.
The story is serviceable, but it is not what makes this film. For fans of the first movie it is filled with nostalgia, and it feels very much like when you return to your hometown and visit the old haunts.
The credit here goes to the actors as they are likable, even the despicable Begbie, in their own way.
One moment that was a gut punch of nostalgia is when they go to where Tommy’s memorial is, a character that died during the first movie, to pay their respects. It is in the exact location of one of Tommy’s pivotal scenes, and serves to remind the viewer of his tragic story.
Boyle’s direction in this film has so much style, and unique camera work. This whole piece could be devoted to all the interesting shots, but they should be seen to be believed.
A standout sequence is when Spud is detoxing from heroin. At the start of the sequence Spud is shaking, and reaching into a paper bag which is implied to have heroin in it.
His shadow is very prominent on the wall while he his reaching in. A few shots later Spud is curled up in the corner of the room with the shadow from earlier still reaching for the drugs inside the bag.
It should be warned that everyone in this film has a thick Scottish accent and it can be hard to decipher what they are saying. The filmmakers recognized this concern, and have uniquely styled subtitles for one of the first dialogue scenes.
If you have never seen the first “Trainspotting” film then it would be impossible to catch all the references “T2” makes, which could cause the film to lose some of its charm. Certain references can be jarring to a new viewer, such as the call back to Renton’s “Choose Life” speech from the first film.
If you are a fan of the first movie, like myself, then you owe it to yourself to watch this film, and get reacquainted with your favorite squad of junkies.