(4 / 5)
Trainspotting 2, is something I never thought would be a reality, beyond simple theories and discussions. The first is a more than a complete story, also to others the idea of doing this is considered sacrilege. So why do it at all? Probably because that time has passed and the question of “Where are they now?” has been itching the filmmakers as much, or more than anyone.
For our crew it seems like they have everything right. Ewan McGregor as Mark has returned, Ewen Bremner as Spud, Johnny Lee Miller as Simon, Robert Carlyle as Franco and Danny Boyle once again taking the reins as director with John Hodge writing the screenplay.
Everything kicks off with Marks return. He is back after twenty years and not everyone is glad to see him. Would you be if he stole four grand from you? Spud did have his life on track, but when day light savings kicked in he was an hour late for everything which threw his stable life way off track and is now back on the heroine. Simon has a “business” of filming people have kinky sex with a prostitute friend and then blackmailing them, he also runs a pub that isn’t really worth opening and takes too much cocaine. And within the prison Franco is locked-up in prison, having twenty years for his rage to boil, it cannot hold him much longer.
Everyone has aged, of course, during the course of twenty years (some more gracefully than others). Most are different or in the same place as they were when Mark left them. But for some they have ignored time and it’s not them that’s changed but the world around them.
Danny Boyle is a director that, if anything, is known for his unique, sizzling visual flare. Something that was probably first established when he made the first Trainspotting. He brings it here as well, with careful and expressive lighting setups, razor sharp sounds, crazy setups an dynamic camera work. He is still very energetic with his passing and with Jon Harris as his editor they put together a very sharp movie. However there are moments of showing one thing and it leading to another which I wont dare spoil for you but are moments that remind you that Boyle is one of the top talents working today.
What would disappoint me about the movie would be if it was deliberately trying to recapture the exact same experience as the original. If they all just did the same thing, beat for beat, that would be a huge mistake. Luckily this is too wise to be so foolish. To be sure, for those that want warped visuals, crazy situations and colourful dialog (which is a staple of Trainspotting) you’ll get it, but they’re different and new. The familiar is revisited but not entirely the same.
Later in the movie Simon need’s a lawyer. So Mark goes to Diane, a person he had a fling with one time but has remained in-contact with. Like all the others Kelley McDonald return to reprise her role. In both movies Diane is what Mark wants to be but can never reach. In the original she was the new and exciting free spirit that found balance of fun while not being self destructive. Now she has formed into a mature and successful adult.
The movies main theme is nostalgia. These were once young men that lived their lives every day and for every second, but now all those times didn’t amount to anything. They’re not happy with how it all turned out and wish for a time when they could be happy-go-lucky again. But they cant.
Was this sequel necessary? Probably not, the ending to the first one is satisfactory enough. Though to the young people that have just discovered either the book of the film and see it as a way of life this will show them that there is still the rest of your life that you have to live. And for the youths that loved it when it came out may find some comfort in realising that they turned out better than the characters they once admired. And if there in the same place as the characters in the movie then this can be their wake-up call to change.