T2 Trainspotting (2017)

t2 trainspotting poster 2017 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

A realistic follow-up to the first film

Feels a bit unnecessary

Movie Info

Movie Name:  T2 Trainspotting

Studio:  Film4

Genre(s):  Drama/Comedy

Release Date(s):  January 22, 2017 (Premiere)/January 27, 2017 (UK)

MPAA Rating:  R

t2 trainspotting no more catholics left rent sick boy ewan mcgregor jonny lee miller

“Nobody gets out of here without singing the blues”

Twenty years after walking out of the lives of his friends with their money, Mark “Rent” Renton (Ewan McGregor) is headed back to Edinburgh after suffering a heart attack…and not everyone is happy about it.  Renton finds Daniel “Spud” Murphy contemplating suicide after returning to a life of heroin, and blackmailer Simon “Sick Boy” Williamson (Jonny Lee Miller) demanding restitution from Renton for his action.  When Renton agrees to help Sick Boy try to build a brothel, the past might be mended…but Renton’s attraction to Sick Boy’s girlfriend Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova) could pose a problem.  In addition to that, Francis Begbie (Robert Carlyle) has escape prison and intends to even the score with Renton.

Directed by Danny Boyle, T2 Trainspotting (sometimes just called Trainspotting 2) is a dark comedy-drama.  A sequel to the 1996 movie Trainspotting, the movie takes storylines from Irving Welsh’s 1993 novel Trainspotting and its 2002 sequel Porno.  It was released to mixed to positive reviews.

Trainspotting was a big movie of college years.  It was an edgy follow-up to Pulp Fiction and had the same energy of that film.  While Pulp Fiction immediately clicked for me, I had to grow into Trainspotting, but I grew to love it.  T2 Trainspotting was a scary concept that threatened to ruin the iconic movie.

t2 trainspotting arthurs seat spud renton ewan mcgregor ewen bremner

My favorite part of the movie simply because in 1997, I was in about the same area of Arthur’s Seat

T2 doesn’t ruin Trainspotting, but in many ways it feels unnecessary.  In Trainspotting, there is no closure.  Renton runs off with a wad of cash, and as he says, he’s choosing “life”.  As a viewer, you knew it wasn’t going to go well for most of these characters though you hoped it would (at least Renton and the sympathetic Spud), but T2 Trainspotting proves viewers fears that money can’t buy a way out of drugs and a trouble past.  The characters are still messed up and still fighting their demons…and the demons are more dangerous as they age.

Trainspotting was a lightning rod for most of the actors who went on to do other things, and the core cast feels like they fall back into their roles nicely.  All of the characters legitimately feel like you expect them to feel like twenty years later (though the chances of Spud surviving felt slim).  The movie has the advantage of having characters you know so there isn’t a ton of need for exploration though the story does dive back into Trainspotting since most of the characters are still living in the past (and what they might consider their glory days).  It is also nice (maybe not totally realistic) for Kelly Macdonald to cameo in a return as Diane who of course is doing fine.  Also like the first movie, the accents are thick, so do not expect to just glide through it understanding the dialogue without work.

t2 trainspotting toilet scene begby renton ewan mcgregor robert carlyle

Can you spare a square?

The movie still has the style and flow of the original movie.  It does a lot of playing with dialogue, retracts, original “old” footage, and some trick photography while tying in more of the original book.  A lot of what Trainspotting stand out was its style and T2 attempts to mimic it.  However, time has passed and the visuals don’t seem as sharp and pointed.

T2 Trainspotting is a nice return to old friends.  It doesn’t feel necessary, but it also doesn’t feel like it really taints the first movie (something sequels can do…especially with this many years between them).  Instead, the movie feels like a class reunion and unlike the stories where the ugly duckling become a swan, everyone is still the same…something that generally seems to be true.  I could see another Trainspotting in ten to twenty years…and if all the characters are alive, not much might have changed for them.

Related Links:

Trainspotting (1996)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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