Choose nostalgia, Choose funny, Choose a brutal dark comedy about middle-aged male disappointment, Choose Danny Boyle’s follow-up to the cult 1996 hit, choose Trainspotting 2.
The four main characters of the first movie make a comeback, Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Mark Renton comes back after his marriage breaks down to confront the demons of his past (Well really it’s to face three guys he ripped off after a drug deal at the end of the last film).
Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting 2, officially known as T2, reunites the original cast for a new adventure 21 years on and I’d say it works a treat. Sequels are always a risk, especially to such a nostalgic film and I have to admit the sequel isn’t quite as entertaining and extraordinary as the original. Renton doesn’t appear to look that much older and the same also goes for Sick Boy, which is pretty surprising considering he has exchanged heroin for cocaine. Oh and he also runs an escort business, which involves secretly videoing clients and extorting money, in conjunction with his female business partner Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova). Spud is emotionally scarred by a lifetime of drug abuse, which later is all summed in a very disturbing scene when Renton finds Spud with a plastic bag over his head that is filled with his own sick.
Begbie has been in jail since the end of the first film and still has a face like thunder. A face that seeks revenge on Renton for his betrayal, Begbie plans a daring escape from prison to pursue this revenge.
The three hopeless part time drug addicts come to a depressing realisation – the truth that who you are in your 20s is who you are going to be in your 40s. Many people (myself included) feel that they can relate to the second film in terms of it questing our need to work out who we are, and to understand why we aren’t where we’d expected to be. As a twenty-one year old I think I’m still feeling the first part.
“Nostalgia, that’s why you’re here,” says Sick Boy to Renton at another point. “You’re a tourist in your own youth.”
T2 oozes nostalgia through Danny Boyle’s choice to blend old and new through the remix of the original’s most iconic song, Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life”, by way of The Prodigy. Renton visits his childhood home and is reluctant to play Lust For Life on his record player, in fear of transportation to darker days.
You’re taken back to the old times not only through a familiar soundtrack and flashbacks of the original, but through the twist of Spud taking up writing about the past. This hobby was taken up after Renton told him to “channel his addictive tendencies into something more productive than hard drugs.” At various points in the film Spud and Begbie reminisce over the old times through spuds narration of his stories, which are written on scrap pieces of paper pined to the wall.
One of the stories captures a iconic scene from the first film as Spud reads out his own dialogue, capturing it word for word: “That lassie got glassed, and no c**t leaves here until we know what c**t did it.”
Finally, the film takes an updated contemporary twist on the famous Trainspotting‘s classic ‘Choose Life’ monologue that inspired an entire generation of teenagers. Here’s just a snippet of the monologue:
“Choose life Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares, Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently…and then take a deep breath, You’re an addict, so be addicted Just be addicted to something else, Choose the ones you love Choose your future Choose life.”
Overall, it is definitely worth watching, but I personally wouldn’t bother with the second if you’ve not watched the first. As a film that at times can drown in nostalgia, a first timer to Trainspotting wouldn’t’ feel as satisfied. CHOOSE BOTH.