Director: Danny Boyle
Talent: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle
Released: 27th January
The signs were all promising for this belated sequel to 1996’s seminal black comedy about a group of heroin addicts in economically starved Edinburgh. Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge were both set to return, as was the entire main cast, while the decidedly substandard Irvine Welsh follow-up novel Porno was mostly being ditched in favour of an original story. But the question remained: Would they manage to recapture that grimy Trainspotting magic?
Twenty years after he ripped off his friends, fleeing to Amsterdam with a bag full of cash, Mark Renton (McGregor) comes back to his old haunts to find that some things never change: amoral Sick Boy (Miller) is still a small-time crook; harmless, simple-minded Spud (Brenmer) is still into smack, and Begbie (Carlyle) is still a psychopath. The latter has recently escaped from prison with vengeance in his mind, and though Renton almost immediately finds himself caught up in yet another get-rich-quick scheme, avoiding a violent death soon becomes a more pressing concern.
This is a bit like a new Rolling Stones album: everyone can still play quite well, but there are no longer any fireworks. Here’s the main problem: the original’s loose, episodic structure and general disregard for narrative gave you the impression that you were simply following these characters for a few months as they went about their dangerous lives, but T2, on the other hand, is densely plotted, contrived and entirely predictable. Game performances from a cast clearly cherishing the reunion and occasional flashes of brilliance, such as a very funny scene set in an Orange Order pub and a failed suicide attempt that’s equal parts hilarious and horrifying, cannot make up for this fundamental flaw. As proceedings degenerate into a weird quasi-remake of Terminator with Begbie subbing in for the killing machine (the film’s title is no coincidence), you will begin to wish that Boyle and co. had just chosen to leave well enough alone. Toothless and unnecessary.
Words – Felipe Deakin