Review: T2 Trainspotting
By Jack Shannon | Jan 27 2017Directed by: Danny BoyleStarring: Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen BremnerRelease Date: January 27thRuntime: 117 minutes[br]A sequel to a much-loved film released long after its original run often inspires both anticipation and apprehension. T2 Trainspotting is no exception, coming twenty-one years after the original cult hit, which still has an enduring popularity today. On board are the original cast and crew, who have gone on to have great careers, and have matured considerably since 1996. However the question remains: does this sequel do the first film justice?Danny Boyle’s direction, for one, is commendable. It’s evident that Boyle had a clear vision for this film, themes of aging and adjustment to modernity, this vision comes across beautifully in vibrant colour palettes, dynamic cinematography, and fresh urban landscapes. It’s clear that the Edinburgh we see in the film is not the one that Renton, Sick Boy and Spud fit into, and creates a distinction between T2 and its predecessor. The tension created between the characters and the changed landscape around them is largely down to Boyle’s filmmaking skill.
“T2 trades on nostalgia far too often. Sometimes these references encourage us to consider the growth these familiar characters have gone through, but just as often they fall flat.”A couple of the performances communicate this theme very well too, particularly that of Robert Carlyle, who makes Begbie as psychopathic as ever, but also shows his vulnerability to the passage of time, and what his mistakes over the years have cost him. Ewen Bremner’s Spud is still an oddly lovable character, played with just the right amount of childlike innocence. Jonny Lee Miller also impresses in his return as Simon ‘Sick Boy’ Williamson, captivating in his lack of morals and now much more organised criminal tendencies. Overall the acting is solid, and along with Boyle’s direction, T2 has a strong foundation.If there is one element of the film that fails to build upon this foundation, however, it’s the script. The dialogue is inconsistent; often spot-on, yet sometimes clunky. What results is a lack of depth, and the feeling that some scenes were rushed and merely thrown together.But even beyond these flaws, T2 trades on nostalgia far too often. Sometimes these references encourage us to consider the growth these familiar characters have gone through, but just as often they fall flat, feeling cheap, better left on the cutting-room floor.T2 provides insight into where the characters are today, while maintaining the same irreverent humour as its predecessor. It’s not the icon that the first was, but is definitely worth it for the laughs alone. One could sum it up in a quote from the original: “so we get old, we can’t hack it anymore, and that’s it?”In a Nutshell: Entertaining? Very. Iconic as the original? No.