What it’s about:
After 20 years of living in Amsterdam, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie. Chaos follows just as it did before.
What we thought of it:
When I was growing up, the original Trainspotting was already a cult classic. With drugs and sex and everything else that goes on I thought it was one of the most provocative movies I had ever seen. Later, like most of the other kids in my film class, I thought (the director) Danny Boyle was a visionary.
I say this not just because of subject matter but because it was a visceral experience watching that movie, and the follow-up is no different. The editing, cinematography and narrative structure made it so, just like the first film.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I expected more. A bar had been set and for the benchmark that was the first Trainspotting film to be surpassed, I didn’t just want what happened before to happen again. I wanted to sit there like I did during the first film and be blown away by the mess and the glamour and the glory. But sadly I wasn’t.
There was a lot of navel gazing just like the first one, but mixed in with a level of nostalgia that made me miss these men’s youth even though I wasn’t even there. That’s another thing, all the harkening back to the original film and its genre bending shots and iconic moments means that I cannot tell you what I think of this film as a standalone. Therefore it must always be compared to the original.
So just like in the characters in the movie I will compare new to old and revel in the past a tiny bit. The acting is pretty good, but McGregor’s Mark is more of a thread that ties the movie together than a strong lead like he was in the first film. A tiny bit of his character’s mojo is gone which I think is intentional but it’s not that enthralling to watch. I feel as though Lee Miller’s Sickboy was actually the best part of the movie. He steals scenes with such a level of ease that I felt myself willing him to succeed despite his character being a douche.
As I said, the level of skill and sheer slickness that this movie has cannot be understated just like the first. The editing made the sometimes-slow moving script seem punchier. Expect lots of monologues and moans from middle-aged men, but in an entertaining way. I think the best part of this film was just getting to be in this world again. Buy a ticket to see it in cinemas if you are a diehard fan otherwise skip it.