Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller & Robert Carlyle
Written by Louie Fecou
Let me start by saying, I wanted to love this film. Let me also start by saying reviews that start with that line are always setting you, the reader, up for the fact that the reviewer may not have liked this as much as everyone else seems to.
The return of the original cast and director, 20 years after the first outing, is a promising start, but once you get over that initial surge of excitement, you have to look at the material.
Obviously there was never going to be a way to capture the zeitgeist of Trainspotting, or do we have to call it T1 now, but the capable hands of Danny Boyle would surely work their magic again? Actually it falls quite short. The same cinematic tricks are there, freeze frames, quick cuts and dream sequences, but it all just seemed a little forced.
The film itself seems to rely very heavily on re hashing the greatest hits from the original, and rather than a plot, we seemed to be watching a series of loosely linked set pieces. Minor spoiler ahead, but when Begbie breaks out of prison, via the hospital in one of the films genuinely funny scenes, he returns home where the police never once arrive to check he’s there. I know, it’s nit picking but it annoyed me and led me to watch for further defects in the script. There were a few.
Characters seemed to jump from scene to scene and I can but wonder if there is another movie in there, but left on the cutting room floor. Speaking of characters, accents and mannerisms started to annoy me too, in particular Begbie and Spud became cartoon cut outs of their previous selves, while Renton and Sick Boy couldn’t decide where they were actually meant to be from.
Before the backlash, I have to point out that the whole film for millions of people round the world, will be an exercise in nostalgia. If, like me, you watched Trainspotting, I can’t say T1, when you were around the same age as the cast, then you will have returned to the cinema with vivid memories of the original.
When the film started , it felt like going to a school reunion and meeting friends for the first time in two decades, and suddenly realizing that despite the good times, you now have nothing in common with them. So you do what everyone does in that situation, you talk about past glories and remember how good it used to be. For me at least, that’s essentially what this screenplay boiled down to.
Sure there’s some unresolved business of the money Renton stole, but the rest of the plot, Sick Boy’s plan to open a brothel, and Spud’s bizarre new literary talents, but it’s all so dis jointed and un involving. A scene of the most incredible sectarianism literally left me open jawed, even when the pay off to the scene is revealed it still felt a little out of place.
All in all I applaud the courage of T2, and there are some genuine moments of brilliance, Renton and his father’s reunion, with the shadow of his departed mother on the wall, echoed later as Spud’s shadow reveals his real intentions despite abstinence, but as we hobbled to the last reel I was desperate for an ending.
Trainspotting was a wild,energetic,ground breaking and disturbing film, T2 seemed happy to wallow in it’s own nostalgia, offering nothing new and hoping that punters like me will pay for a ticket to the reunion.
I wanted to love this film
Rating: 4 out if 10