90’s Scottish cult classic Trainspotting has snatched another hit of cinematic rebirth. Renton, Sickboy, Spud, and Begbie once again are ready to take us on a wildly funny, touching and sometimes phonetically baffling adventure. T2 Trainspotting is set 20 years after the events of the first installment and the wild cards prone to all things illegal are older and … wiser? It seems like not a whole lot has changed with Spud still itching for a needle, Sickboy earning money with morally questionable businesses, and Begbie enjoying the view from a prison window. Only for Renton, life turned out for the better. He has a job, he goes to the gym and enjoys his life as a sober person – all kick started by the £16.000 they got out of a drug deal in T1. The one where he betrayed all his friends, remember? Well, Sickboy does and he is out for revenge when Renton decides to come back into town.
The boys take us on a journey down memory lane with just the right amount of nostalgia a Boyleian can take. We visit familiar places: Renton’s bedroom plastered with train wallpaper, the hillside where the famous “being Scottish sucks” -speech was held and corners on the streets previously subject to chase sequences in T1. And we see familiar faces: sweet Gail trying to raise her child out of reach of Spud’s drug escapades; Renton’s dad, still very quiet; Diane, now finally old enough and working as a lawyer.
Renton and Diane share a short moment of “what could have been” and this question seems to resonate a lot throughout the rest of the movie. What would have been if Renton had stayed? What would have happened to Sickboy and Spud? And with Begbie, we all know his path would have ended the same. Speaking of: Begbie, once escaped from jail, has a surprising character development that might actually offer some redemption for his terrifying personality – his father was an alcoholic. Which we find out in a subway tunnel? Adding this layer to Begbie’s life seemed a bit forced and weird but not dead-baby-crawling-on-the-ceiling-weird so I guess it doesn’t disrupt the story significantly and might help you understand why he turned out to be this abusive drunk.
Besides dealing with very personal struggles, T2 is openly criticizing society without ever forgetting that humor is often the best way to do it. One extraordinary example is Boyle’s comment on sectarianism in Scotland, brilliantly packaged in the “No more Catholics” song, which deserves its own record. Without spoiling anything: The end has the audience buckle up and check their heartrates with action sequences that make some Fast and Furious stunts look boring and meaningless. When the story comes to a fold, a warm feeling of previous distress followed by resolution spreads across your chest and you know you’ll think of this movie for at least the next couple of hours.
They chose comedy, they chose drama, they chose action, they chose wicked camera movements and beautifully shot constellations and most of all they chose pay-off for all the piled-up emotions from the iconic prequel. T2 Trainspotting is the sequel that deserves to be told and brings the boys back in a more grown-up but still pretty silly and deranged way, which we loved so much about the first one. Danny Boyle still has it and we are glad to say hello again and goodbye with a very enjoyable and fulfilling movie.
I choose a 7/10 rating