Choose life. Choose this review. Choose….Too obvious? Okay, nevermind. Carrying on the latest film trend of “Let’s bring back all our favourite things”, T2: Trainspotting does it a little differently; it’s easy to look at things like Star Wars, Jurassic Park, The Mummy etc. and understand why you’d bring it back, but it’s not quite the same for Trainspotting. Sure, the book did have a sequel, however the first film – easily one of the best British films ever made – is a perfect one off flick that didn’t need a continuation. And like many 20 years later sequels, there was a huge risk of it being rather bad. Rest assured, T2: Trainspotting is rather fantastic.
Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) are back; it’s been 20 years since Renton ran off with the £16,000 and all of their lives are in a less than favourable place, but things soon kick off when they re-enter each other’s lives. These four actors do an incredible job sinking back into their roles. On the one hand, it feels just like the classic performances we’ve come to love, but there’s also a sense of time passed in the way they portray these characters again. They have aged, have lived life, and it’s delivered in subtle nuances that add whole new levels to the characters. Jonny Lee Miller in particular was fantastic, and a certain scene where him and McGregor discuss events from the first film is truly chilling.
T2: Trainspotting sees the characters getting up to a lot of antics, and it’s fantastic to watch. Danny Boyle lends his unique direction to many situations, each more entertaining the last. And the film is truly hilarious; no spoilers, but the film’s biggest laugh comes from a certain money making scheme that’s hard not to love. To top it all off, it’s got an amazing soundtrack, full of classics songs you already love and some new ones you’ll be pleased to discover, all used perfectly within the film. It’s a very fast paced film that’s easy to keep up with, with twists and turns that make it an exciting and enjoyable experience.
Saying all that, it’s not perfect; there are times where this film struggles with it’s throwbacks. There are certain cameos – one of which was spoiled in the trailer, although that trailer is one of the best to be released this decade so we can forgive it – and moments that just feel so forced. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it, just a way of shoe-horning in stuff from the original film as a means of nostalgia. The same problem occurs with the “Choose Life” scene that the trailer also boasted. Let’s just say it sounds so much cooler in that trailer, and is ultimately a little bit contrived in the actual film. Many of the recent come backs for franchises have struggled with this, and ultimately, it’s not a major issue in this case, it just brings the film down a tad when they happen.
Regardless of that, T2: Trainspotting is an impressive effort that may not be as good as it’s predecessor, but it would be quite unfair to expect that. For what it is, it’s brilliant; a well done follow up with excellent character development, even better performances, a kick-ass soundtrack, amazing direction and overall, just a super fun experience.
T2: Trainspotting 2 is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!