05 April 2017

Written by Marc Lamberts

for Daily Focal

Finally, I can write about this. I’ve literally waited since my 15th birthday – that was the first time I saw Trainspotting – for the sequel. For years it wasn’t sure if there would be one, but I saw Trainspotting over and over again. I read Trainspotting and Porno over and over again, begging Irvine Welsh to push things forward. Then it happened, the sequel in cinemas end of January.

I’m such a stupid person sometimes. I got all hyped about the film being released at January 27th, that I didn’t pay attention. It wasn’t released here in the Netherlands till the 16th of February. It’s safe to say I was actually devastated when I walked into the cinema and they started laughing at me. I could actually cry tears to be honest. Might have done it too.

I’m not going to lie, I had massive concerns about it the film. Trainspotting has some sort of cult status within British cinematography. It was so pure, so raw, so real. It was a film that not only gave you a sense of identification, to a certain degree. Don’t worry, I don’t do heroine. But it also let people see the struggles of young folk in their twenties, dealing (no pun intended) with love, football (for all the Hibs out there), friendship, career choices and trying to be better than the previous generation. This all made the film from 1996 brilliant in my opinion.

So 20 years later, I watch the trailers and I’m even more worried about it. I’m scared it got too much American. There’s nothing wrong with being American or the way they make films, but what I personally love about British cinema is that they focus on the quality of conversation in their productions. At least that’s what I hope. I was so afraid of the film being all about events, too much events. About violence and not about storylines or conversation. I’m so happy to say that I was completely wrong.

Yes, I will start talking about the actual film right now. I saw the first film over 50 times, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t and it’s good to watch the first film before you go see T2 Trainspotting. I guess you can understand everything that’s going on without it, but the thing that makes this second film better, is the continuity. I would say the biggest thing that makes this film good, is the character development. It’s a coming of age 2.0 as you will. We get insight into the past 20 years of every main character in the film – I love it that they have got the original cast, it made me so happy.

I think the main part of the storyline is that there’s unfinished business when Renton gets back to Edinburgh. Spud, Begsby and Sick boy all have different lives because of the event that occurred at the end of the first film. They all react in a different manner, but there’s one vital difference. Spud and Sick boy, keep their friendship with Renton, but the situation with Begsby escalated over the years as we can see from his prison sentence and his family situation.

For me, the film deals with two very important aspect of day to day life. It’s not as fun as you want, it’s no Disney. It deals with the relation between friendship and individuality. It shows the dilemma people have with keeping up friendships and doing what’s best for themselves. This balance changes over the film, as the main character value friendship more and more, except Begsby who can be described as doing thing solely for his own purpose.

Further more it also deal with something very real like deception and betrayal. These themes are themes mentioned and played out in the first film. This film continues on that path and it’s talked about more and more by Spud and the deceiving lady. It’s something that breaks the bond between certain actors in the film, but also brings together. Which is very interesting to see.

Of course we ask ourselves the question: Is this going to be such a brilliant film in British film history that will be remembered as its predecessor. No. It’s so much more different. Where as the first film is very raw, this film is much more sophisticated. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good because it gives the complete story it’s completeness. But it isn’t as cult, as the first film.

Although the film has an epic soundtrack again – especially Prodigy’s mix of Iggy Pop’s Lust for life, oh my word. – the visual effect and the music is of less importance to the film. That’s because not only have the actors developed over the years, it’s also director Danny Boyle who has developed as a filmmaker. 

I think the message of this film is that real friendships can last for a very long time. Even when you’ve grown apart and don’t see each other for 20 years. This film is an intelligent film, it tells you a story. A story of group of friends who still have the same habits, but have become wiser in the process.

God, I loved this film.

Marc's Film Review Ranking:


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