Choose The 90’s. Choose Britpop. Mega-clubs. No social media. No smartphones blurring work & home life. No President Trump. No Brexit. And producer of one of The Sloth’s top 2 favourite films of all time – Trainspotting. So to hear that Danny & Co were planning T2 filled us with a mix of delirious anticipation and outright dread. 21 years on, how can you follow up such an iconic classic?
First and foremost, bearing in mind Renton, Sickboy, Spud and Begbie were skagheads, you’d expect them to now be either 1) dead or 2) reformed and high up the ladder in merchant banking. However that wouldn’t make for a very entertaining film. So instead we find Renton, who has been domiciled in Amsterdam for the past however many years, returning to Edinburgh to track down his old muckers. Sickboy, now known as Simon, is running the dive of his family’s pub but is enterprisingly planning to convert it into a brothel. Spud is still known as Spud and is still struggling with addiction plus supporting an estranged wife and kid. And Begbie is locked up at Her Majesty’s pleasure, to the relief of the general population of Scotland.
There is a plot. It again involves money and the potential for betrayal. But the plot isn’t really the point. Instead T2 is more an essay on nostalgia and past youth. Which is the right thing to do because can anyone who saw Trainspotting in cinemas the first time round possibly watch T2 without mulling over where the last 21 years has led them? Sickboy accuses Renton of being ‘a tourist in your own youth’. Long held tensions bubble under the surface. Both footage from the original film and echoes of some of its most iconic scenes reappear in T2 – Renton’s manic grin as he tumbles over a car bonnet, the Choose Life speech reworked for the digital age and sounding positively Shakespearean. Stylistically, it bears the same splashy, surreal hallmarks and black humour (watch out for an inspired scene in a Protestant pub) the original practically invented.
Most importantly, the characters are as strong, vibrant and familiar as ever. You know that feeling when you meet a friend you haven’t seen for years and within two minutes it’s like you’ve never been apart? It made us realise how rarely films create truly iconic characters (don’t even think about suggesting anything Marvel or DC Comics related or The Sloth will throw you out of this blog). T2 could have been a train wreck. Pun intended. Thankfully it isn’t. God bless Danny Boyle and all who sail in him.