Starring: Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle
Director: Danny Boyle
Running Time: 117 mins
T2 Trainspotting is a British film and the sequel to Trainspotting. 20 years after Renton left Scotland having ripped off his friends, he returns to reunite with the gang.
The one thing I have to say about this film is that it’s so much better than I could have ever imagined. I love the original Trainspotting, but I felt no need to see a sequel at any time, but to see one come off as well as this is great. Hugely funny and massively enjoyable from start to finish, and with more great performances and music, it’s a great watch, albeit not quite on the intensely gritty level of the original.
Let’s start with the positives, particularly with the lead performances. Sequels as late as this can sometimes feel like a desperate attempt to retread the past, but the performances here are the key indicator to the fact that that’s not the case.
Some of the characters here have evolved dramatically, whilst some are pretty much the same as they were back in the 90s, but all of the lead actors give both convincing, lively and entertaining performances. Just as charismatic as in the original, Ewan McGregor leads the film brilliantly, whilst Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner and particularly Robert Carlyle are all massive fun to watch as they return to their roles.
This doesn’t come across like a film for nostalgia’s sake, where we have an old gang reunite years later, simply because the lead performances are so energetic, and are almost as crazed as they were back in the original, which was great to see.
Another big part of this film is the comedy. The original Trainspotting, whilst undoubtedly full of humour, is more memorable as a hallucinogenic drama. This sequel is a lot heavier on the comedy, but it works really well to make for a hugely entertaining watch. The chemistry between the leading quartet in their various meetings is stunning, and the film’s most frantic and ridiculous sequences are full of great laughs.
That’s not to say that this is an out-and-out comedy. There is still a dramatic story here that comes to the forefront once in a while and provides some good insight into the way the main characters’ lives have changed (or not) over the years, but it’s by no means on the same dramatic level as the first film.
And therein lies what I found most disappointing about T2. Whilst it’s huge fun to watch, and massively funny throughout, it doesn’t have anything like the same thrilling and grungy intensity as the first film. There’s nothing about this film that made me feel as uncomfortable as some of the original’s most insane and gritty moments, and that really did take away from the story’s power.
Also, the film is visually a lot cleaner. I know that the story is a lot more focused on a new era in the characters’ lives, rather than just repeating the same story again, but there’s something about Danny Boyle’s direction, as well as the use of modern filming equipment, that makes this film feel so much more sterilised than I would have liked. There’s nothing as disgusting about it as the infamous toilet or baby scene from the first, and that’s a disappointment, because the story just isn’t quite as powerful without those sorts of shocking and grungy moments.
Overall, I was impressed by T2 Trainspotting. It may not be the Trainspotting sequel I wanted, what with its less grungy atmosphere, but thanks to some incredibly funny humour and brilliant performances, it’s a massively entertaining watch regardless, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6.