T2 Trainspotting

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 27, 2017

T2 Trainspotting

Director Danny Boyle reunites with his "Trainspotting" cast in this sequel that -- surprise!! -- doesn't suck. In fact, it's pretty damn good!

"T2 Trainspotting" is very loosely based on "Porno," Irvine Welsh's 2002 sequel to the novel "Trainspotting," upon which Boyle's 1996 movie of the same name was based. In the original, five friends battled heroin addiction, and each other; only four were left standing by the end, when the film's narrator, Renton (Ewan McGregor in his pre-"Star Wars" days) pulled a double cross on his pals, absconding with proceeds from a drug deal.

Twenty years later, personal crises of various sorts converge to eject Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) from his life in Amsterdam and send him back to his hometown in Scotland. His old mates are all there -- even the psychopathic Begie (Robert Carlyle), who has resorted to extremes in order to escape from prison. The luckless Spud (Ewen Bremner) is still a junkie; he's suicidal, having seen his attempt at fatherhood spiral into failure. Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) is still slick and polished, and still given to sleazy scams: His latest venture is a blackmailing scheme that he runs with his Bulgarian girlfriend Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova). It's not long before the same cross-currents of friendship and betrayal are at work, leading the four men -- now middle-aged -- toward a cathartic, and possibly lethal, confrontation.

John Hodges returns to script the screen adaptation, and Boyle's visual style remains inventive, though in both cases there's markedly less frenetic energy and a more mature sensibility. The guys are older, and the film's style reflects that. Edinburgh has tarted itself up over the years, and the movie also has a clean look about it; even when characters long clean return to the needle, it's in a glossy, modern environment. At the same time, though, memory winds through every level of this film, bringing with it bittersweet nostalgia, regret, and wistfulness. It's all a good bit of fun at the end of the day, though,m isn't it?

The Blu-ray edition features a host of deleted scenes, many of them centered on Begbie's doings, but also offering a glimpse of Renton's half-hearted effort at rekindling an earlier romance. There's also a roundtable discussion between Boyle and his cast (minus Bremner), as well as an audio commentary track in which Boyle and Hodges discuss both films, reminiscing like old pals.

There's also a "documentary" -- a PSA, really, from a recovery charity called Carlton Athletic -- that encourages the viewer to opt for sport over smack. (Endorphins are the healthy choice for those looking to feel good; leave the opioids alone!)

Did you love the original film's spark, snark, energy, and music? The follow-up has most of those same ingredients, and then some.

"T2 Trainspotting"




Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.