T2 Trainspotting had a pretty cool intro in New Zealand by its Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle at the premiere last weekend. He hoped we wouldn’t think it was shite and I can confirm that it is a totally welcome and perfectly executed sequel.
Boyle has managed to revisit his cinematic icons respectfully with humour and originality. This is not a rehash, he’s done our old friends proud and given fans a chance to reconnect with some characters that made such a huge imprint in our celluloid lives.
After 20 years ‘Renton’ is back in Edinburgh to face his old buddies, whom may not be best pleased to see him following how he skipped out at the end of Trainspotting. He finds a depressed and desperate addict in ‘Spud’, an angry ‘Sick Boy’ and well, ‘Begbie’ may want to be given a wide birth.
Those who have affection for the original gang are going to feel nostalgia in abundance upon seeing these misfits back together again. The screenplay is well paced, has wonderfully dry dark wit and a fair bit of confrontational drama too being loosely based on parts of Irvine Welsh’s novels Porno and Trainspotting.
This fabulous cast prove that their characters can stand the test of time. I found it so comforting seeing Ewan McGregor back as Renton as he just seems to fit so well into one of my favourite anti-heroes. Still rocking that bleached hair Jonny Lee Miller’s Sick Boy is angry, troubled but ultimately lost without his former posse. Robert Carlyle is absolutely mesmerising as the still terrifying, yet at times very funny, Begbie. His scenes evoke instant excitement and nervous tension knowing that just anything is possible when this guy is on screen. Ewen Bremner as Spud totally stole the film for me giving an outstanding performance. His kind hearted and tragic character draws in the audience throughout the film resulting in a growing empathy and desire to see him find some peace and happiness.
The film regularly self-references it’s younger self, allowing for a seamless refresh for fans and enough background for those meeting these guys for the first time. It also does well to never go cheesy or make inserts feel too forced in this process.
The film does not have the youthful energy and darkness of the original but that’s what happens with age, we get softer and certainly can’t keep up with our 20 something selves, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a good go at it. Boyle has allowed us to get some closure on this story without doing any damage to the now classic 1996 movie.
Choose life, choose to watch T2 Trainspotting out in NZ cinemas now as it’s a wonderfully quirky, non-judgemental and affectionate film that will delight and enthuse its viewers.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar