Director: Danny Boyle Starring: Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremmer, Robert Carlyle Synopsis: After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie (source: IMDb). Rating: R
Despite the fact that there is and always will be only one “T2” (Terminator 2: Judgement Day), I really enjoyed Trainspotting 2. Yes, after two decades Danny Boyle and company finally reunite for the highly-anticipated sequel to the 1996 classic. And unlike a lot of recent sequels to twenty year-old classics, Trainspotting 2 genuinely feels like the natural progression of an initial story rather than an exploitation of a beloved title.
The film picks up in real time with Renton (Ewan McGregor), now middle-aged and sober, returning home to Edinburgh, Scotland where he reunites with his rag-tag friends. The catch is he hasn’t seen any of them since turning his back on them twenty years earlier.
Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) has a talent for peeling back the layers of the bigger picture to examine stories through the eyes of his characters. It’s an intimate approach that helps us understand where each character stands both with him/herself as well as with each other after all these years. Some relationships have been damaged more than others but everyone’s actions (both of the hilarious & more dramatic varieties) as well as the resulting chaos feels warranted because we know where they’re all coming from.
Unlike our protagonists, Trainspotting 2 has matured with age, at least when you’re talking about the technical aspects of storytelling. It’s as kinetic as the original, but the focus is more on presenting a coherent narrative. There’s not as much an emphasis on the trippy shots and cracked coloring that helped make the original so iconic. This refined technique mirrors the “cleaner” state of life that most these guys are now living. Credit to Boyle for letting the progression of the overall story dictate the technique instead of simply going with what worked the first time.
Visually, the Trainspotting films are pop art where the colors pop off the screen and the camera is living almost as an equally frantic character within the stories. But the artistry doesn’t stop there. The soundtracks are equally dazzling, with tracks from Iggy Pop to Queen, Blondie, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and more. Your senses are always engaged with this film.
Trainspotting 2 is the perfect compliment to the original cult hit.
What did you all think of Trainspotting 2? Are you glad we got a sequel after all these years or should Danny Boyle and team simply left well enough alone? Hit up our comments section and let us know!