There are many things T2 Trainspotting is not – the main being that it is undoubtedly not the original 1996 cult classic that defined a generation, nor will it ever be. In all honesty, we never really expected it to match up.
One of the key reasons fans were so hyped up about T2 was because it features practically all the original cast members. This was certainly an achievement for director Danny Boyle given that 20 years has passed and many of the actors, particularly Ewan McGregor, have since seen their careers skyrocket.
McGregor joins Johnny Lee Miller, Ewan Bremner and Robert Carlyle as our favourite characters are reunited in Edinburgh and more chaos ensues.
T2 picks up 20 years after Trainspotting left off with Renton returning to Scotland following his disappearance along with his mates’ cash, despondent and hoping to make amends. We get to catch up with Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie as he does the rounds – and it’s not exactly a warm welcome.
While Sick Boy (Simon) is no longer in the grips of heroin addiction, the same cannot be said for poor Spud. Begbie has spent the last two decades in prison and is hellbent on revenge when he discovers that Renton is back in town.
They may be a lifetime away from 1996, but the real poignancy of T2 is that destructive habits, broken relationships and the desperate urge to escape monotony are still very much a part of these men’s lives.
Spud is, surprisingly, the star of the show – Boyle uses him as the primary link to their former lives as addicts and further develops his character in a way that is both insightful and incredibly touching.
It should be said that there is a lot less heroin use in T2, which was odd at first considering this was pretty much what defined the original. In its place is a sense of resignation and loss that is intensified by the aging actors’ lined faces, and with this Boyle avoids depending too much on the past to create something special.
Yet sparks of the original film’s magic permeate the sequel in the form of memorable flashbacks, resurfacing character traits and a heart-pounding soundtrack – and that is really what we came for.
T2 Trainspotting is out in cinemas now. Check out www.moviehouse.co.uk for show times and further information.