Film Review: Trainspotting 2
by Anthony Thomas, guest reviewer
Like many sequels, Trainspotting 2 does not live up to the original. And that’s a real shame. For whereas ‘Trainspotting’ (1996) captured the essence of the book and became a classic: original, youthful, shocking, raw, edgy, exuberant, memorable and at times hilarious – ‘T2’ is a movie with none of these qualities. The storyline is weak, full of cliché with many ‘in-house’ jokes and cliquish nostalgia scenes.
The four central characters have not only aged twenty years they have gone to seed. They contain none of their earlier adolescent attractions; no death defying vulnerability, political innocence or ‘devil may care’ recklessness that first drew us to them. Perhaps that’s inevitable after all these years. But Spud, Renton, Sick Boy and Begbie today exude all the fascination their own fathers might have offered us in the original film. ‘T2’ is instantly forgettable, an analgesic prescribed like ‘cold turkey’ to wean us off more potent memories.
It is much less absorbing, less innovative and less fun than the original. And if the most memorable scene turns out to be, as I suspect it will, the one set in a West Lothian Orange Hall where Renton and Sick Boy sing anti-Catholic songs to an all too appreciative ‘lumpen’ audience before stealing their credit cards and predicting the 1-6-9-0 PIN numbers then god help us. For the searing insight Trainspotting provided – into the deadly heroin underworld and its diseased, colourful characters – is nowhere to be seen in this sequel. The soundtrack is aged and forgettable too. In a comparable club scene, the edgier and offbeat sounds of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed that soared in the 1996 original are replaced by Queen – illustrating vividly how the energy and offbeat mood of the first movie had rather ebbed away in the second script.
The only real enjoyment I had with ‘T2’ was in ‘spotting’ the Edinburgh landmarks used as locations. And to be fair these were far more numerous and clearly genuine than in the first film shot largely in Glasgow and Ireland. But in truth it is not enough to save ‘T2’ which will I fear be quickly forgotten by all but the bank managers of Danny Boyle, Ewan McGregor, Irvine Welsh and its financiers Sony Pictures.
‘T2’ has for me unfortunately lessened Trainspotting’s enduring legacy. So please guys for ‘f*** sake’ don’t make another one! Try harder to kick ‘the easy money’ habit.
VERDICT -There will be better films released in 2017, so it’s 2/10 for ‘T2’ from me I’m afraid.