Almost 21 years later, Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie are back, causing mischief once more in the sequel to Trainspotting.
Last night, critics in London attended a screening of T2: Trainspotting, the verdict being surprisingly positive, including a five-star review by The Independent.
“Boyle directs with huge energy and inventiveness, using music every bit as effectively as in the first film to drive on the action,” reviewer Geoffrey Macnab writes of the sequel.
Read the reviews below. T2 Trainspotting reaches cinemas 27 January in the UK and 17 March in the US.
As in the first film, Boyle gives the story an epic scale, often filming the characters in full frame and avoiding the claustrophobic feeling of so much of British social realist drama.
T2 isn’t as good as T1: it is a little too long and unwinds a bit into caper sentimentality, broad comedy and self-mythologising. But it has the same punchy energy, the same defiant pessimism, and there’s nothing around like it. This sequel was a high-wire act, but Boyle has made it to the other side.
With a soundtrack throbbing with new sounds from the likes of Wolf Alice and Young Fathers and a dazzling update on Renton’s iconic “Choose Life” speech, Danny Boyle’s served up a film that unleashes a rush almost as satisfying as the original hit.
In some senses T2 shares elements with its Terminator namesake. It’s inventive and full of surprises. But unlike Cameron’s sequel, it doesn’t reimagine the original in quite the same glorious way.
The original Trainspotting – T1, as we hopefully don’t now have to call it – was released in the UK just a month shy of 21 years ago, and so infectious was its hyper-manic, proto-Cool-Britannic charge, it’s now impossible to work out whether it was a product of its time or if the time was a product of it. There’s no chance of its successor matching that legacy, but it won’t tarnish it either: though the film feeds on its forerunner, it’s worthwhile on its own terms.
A missed opportunity on multiple levels, T2 is stylistically an overwrought rehash which relies heavily on over-caffeinated camerawork and flashy effects.
If you're a fan of the original there are references, flashbacks and, yes, the sweet tourism of nostalgia to enjoy which compensate for a paucity of plot. Boyle is a good filmmaker, but this isn't a good story. And if you've never seen Trainspotting, there's basically nothing here for you at all.
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