T2 Trainspotting

Film, Drama
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(21user reviews)
T2 Trainspotting

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Lightning might never strike twice, but Danny Boyle and co have delivered a thoughtful, respectable and knowing sequel to 1996's 'Trainspotting'

You can’t recreate your past, but you can relive it in your head over and over again, seeing it differently as you become someone new each year, month, week and day. That's the big, trippy idea at the heart of Danny Boyle’s ‘T2 Trainspotting’, a frenetic but also reflective film about the past colliding with the present. It has some soaring highs and a few lows – but it’s never lazy, even if it never matches the one-off magic of the 1990s Britpop-era original. Frankly: how could it?

‘T2’ sees Renton (Ewan McGregor) arrive back in Edinburgh from Amsterdam where he’s been working in ‘stock management software for the retail sector’ (choose life, indeed) and where his personal life has taken a hit. Back home, he seeks out Spud (Ewen Bremner), to whom life hasn’t been kind in an altogether more devastating way, and he reconnects with Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), who is now running a blackmail and prostitution racket with business partner Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova in one of several underwritten female roles; Shirley Henderson and Kelly Macdonald suffer the same fate). The missing piece of the jigsaw is Begbie (Robert Carlyle), who’s still seething about being stitched up by Renton all those years ago and who's stuck in jail – but not for long.

‘T2’ is a sequel, but it's not just about continuing a story. It knows how much is riding on our nostalgia, and it wants to prod and play with it. That ‘T2’ tag could easily stand for ‘take two’: a second look at the story of friendship and betrayal that defined the original film, only now seen from the perspective of two decades on. We see snippets of the first ‘Trainspotting’, as well as Super-8-style flashbacks of the boys as kids. John Hodges’s script draws on Irvine Welsh’s follow-up novel ‘Porno’, but it also loops back to the first book, and just about avoids disappearing up its own backside when it makes a bold suggestion about the authorship of Welsh’s debut.

Like the original, ‘T2 Trainspotting’ is a winning mix of low living and high jinx, a stylized spin on real life. Music is just as important, and there are familiar tunes, but the tone is less youthful and more maudlin. It’s a darker film, with less humour (although there’s a brilliant comic scene in a Unionist club), and it’s a little grander: the photography is more epic, the look more grown-up, although there's a familiar anarchy to the visuals.

Perhaps there’s just too much going on for the melancholy to hit home fully: ‘T2’ works too hard to be both a buzzy, scuzzy revenge story – complete with bar-room fights, nighttime chases and low-rent porn scams – and a downer portrait of time gone, opportunities missed and connections lost. It’s a busy, boisterous and awkward film. But it also has just enough of those two ingredients that made the first film such a gem – style and soul – and you have to salute Boyle and co for doing something much more interesting than delivering a straight-up cash-in or nostalgia fest. For all its larks and energy, it’s an oddly haunting experience, strange and sad, to see these faces again, now older, more lined, less carefree.

Details

Release details

Rated:
18
Release date:
Friday January 27 2017
Duration:
117 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Danny Boyle
Screenwriter:
John Hodge
Cast:
Ewan McGregor
Jonny Lee Miller
Robert Carlyle
Ewen Bremner

Users say (21)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

As a huge fan of "Trainspotting", of both the book and the film, I was very scared of watching T2 when it was came out, as I was worried that I would have been disappointed, and consequently the sequel would have ruined the beautiful memories I had of the 90's film. How wrong I was, T2 is amazing, and it's very surprising and also very difficult, for a director to make a sequel that actually makes sense, after 21 years. T2 is brilliant as it present the life of Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie after 21 years, with a fresh and new view, still having something to say, and adapting to the time that has changed and passed by. What is more is that you don't really need to re-watch Trainspotting before watching T2, as there are many flashbacks and unpublished scenes from the 90's cult. There's a certain allure of nostalgia in the film, but it is engaging throughout, almost moving to a certain extent (especially in relation to Spud - I won't spoil anything). Characters development is carefully thought of from an emotional and a psychological point of view, tying them to their past self, but also representing how much they have changed in the years. I loved the cult 90's Trainspotting as a teenager and cannot avoid loving the sequel as well, as I see both as a sort of moral tale. Last point: music is amazing, I thought that it would have been impossible to recreate such a beautiful soundtrack as with Trainspotting, but I was wrong, again. T2 presents a careful choice of tracks, ranging from britpop, to pop, and verging into indie (listen to Silk Alice's "Wolf"), 2 tracks make a come-back (one of which is the mythical "Lust for Life" by Iggy Pop), and what is more, is that they seem to perfectly represent the moment in which they are placed in the film (perfect song at the perfect time). Go, watch it, and you won't regret it!

Tastemaker

I really enjoyed this, and I felt that it really worked so well and that the story just all seemed to slot into place perfectly. I know prior to making it there were questions of 'is it worth trying to do another?' in case it might risk tainting the original film, yet this hits the spot perfectly and serves you up exactly what you want to see. Boyle has also masterfully interspersed nostalgic references to the first film throughout this second instalment, which really draws you in and 

I think there's little point delving into the storyline as I'd just recommended that if you're a fan of the first film then you should just go and see this. You won't be disappointed.

There are also stunning views of the city of Edinburgh, particularly from up over Arthur's Seat. I visited recently and couldn't help thinking about the T2 while I was there. I want to see them both again now!

Tastemaker

Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud are back, older, jaded, in prison, suicidal and pretty much depressed. When Renton meets up with some of the gang to set up a new business venture, naturally most aren't pleased to see him after he stole money from them during the last deal 20 years prior! Great understated acting from the gang and some throwbacks to the first film makes for a good screen version of Porno, the Irvine Welsh book sequel. If you haven't seen the first one and weren't around during that Britpop golden era it might be lost on you but if you between 35 and 45 this will bring back some fond memories (minus the heroine hopefully)! 

tastemaker

Always fairly sceptical of reboots but this was excellent as a stand alone film, regardless of any nostalgic feelings. The film is set in Edinburgh 20 years after Renton's departure as he returns home for a funeral and attempts to heal the wounds he left behind. As expected, it has a great soundtrack. It's handled incredibly well by Danny Boyle, with the characters advanced age embraced but not without a total loss of their youthful abandon

Tastemaker

In my opinion, this is how you do sequel. This is a film that not only captures the familiar feeling of the original film but also moves the story along perfectly. Visiting all the characters that we left in the 90's,we see how Renton and his gang have got along since and also how these very iconically 90's characters cope in the modern day. It's a great mood piece,smothered in nostalgia and with a captivating commentary on what life is like in 2017. The film in itself is just a wonderful slice of cinema making. A cracking soundtrack (obviously) one to add to the DVD collection,when it is out 

tastemaker

I had mixed feelings about going to see the new Trainspotting 2 (not because I was worried that it wouldn't hold up against the first one but that I wasn't really a massive fan of the original cult hit!) However, the sequel for me was an instant hit. Tastefully done, thoughtful - the cut scenes from the original were a touch of genius - as well as soundtrack as brilliant put together as the first one. Where most follow up films fall flat, this one stood up in it's own right. 


Newbies to the series, don't be put off. You don't need to have seen the first one (recently or at all) to be moved by this intelligent film by Danny Boyle.

tastemaker

Inexpected amazing sequel to the first. Entertaining, funny and perfect ending. Worth watching -Choose life ✌🏼

Tastemaker

This sequel does not disappoint, capturing the great energy and sweeping charm of the original, while also looking back nostalgically into the past. Although it ultimately doesn't reach the heights of Trainspotting's brilliance, it nonetheless is a rollicking ride and very entertaining.

Tastemaker

Having only seen the first instalment of Trainspotting quite recently, I was excited of what Danny Boyle had to offer for T2 with the original still fresh in my mind. The film uses the right amount of nostalgia yet making it relevant for the era we are in and it was reassuring to know that the characters still held their same mindset, attitude and morals. As far as sequels go, this is one of the best and I left with a huge smile on my face.

Tastemaker

A life-affirming slice of well-adjusted middle age, this isn't. The characters are just as desperate, but without a youthful sheen. The sequel doesn't have the full-tilt energy of the original (some parts drag), but maybe that was by design; how many 40-something junkies have a lust for life?

Tastemaker

Finally a sequel that doesn't just disappoint. I'm a massive fan of Trainspotting. I've read the book twice and seen the first movie endless times, so I was so excited to go to the cinema this time, although I was very scared. 


The film is very engaging, and it's been done in an amazing way. You see your four favourite characters again and as someone else has already said, it's like meeting your old friends after a long time. I loved the way they "updated" the concept, bringing in new subjects and problems from our era. 


I'm giving it three stars as I just think a cult movie such as Trainspotting should never have a part 2, but you should still go and watch it.

Tastemaker

Trainspotting was one of the best, if not the best, films of the 1990s. In an era of remakes, follow-ups and spin-offs, waiting 20 years to do the sequel was remarkably restrained. Getting the original leads and director back together led to huge anticipation.

It is great to see the four protagonists again, and all four are on top form here. Danny Boyle's direction is great, playing homage to the original but making it modern and keeping it relevant to the 2010s. Edinburgh looks great in its extremes; futuristic and rich, old fashioned and poor. If anything might be a bit weak, it could be the story. However although all the individual parts are good, it never reaches the highs of the original.

It is a bit like meeting a wild old friend after many years; you look forward to it, you have a good night out, you have changed a little, they have changed a little, it is nice to see them, but ultimately you don't have much in common any more.

Tastemaker

I wish I could give T2 a 3.5...as a standalone movie, it's good. Nowhere near as good as the first one, obviously, but it is good. The 20 year break is handled well in that the movie acknowledges it and gives enough flashbacks/explanations for anyone who might be watching without having seen the first movie (if that is you - go and watch it now!) but, at points, this does get a bit annoying. It's as if almost half of T2 is just replaying scenes from the original.


That said, if you're a fan of Trainspotting, T2 is a walk down memory lane - it plays on your nostalgia and does not disappoint. It's funny, witty and raw just as the first film is. I definitely enjoyed the movie in the cinema, but while I might choose to rewatch Trainspotting time and time again, I can't see myself doing the same with T2.

tastemaker

The first film was groundbreaking, the use of music to drive the action was incredibly powerful and the soundtrack became an anthem for that generation.... this film however lacks everything that made the first film great. The music was lacklustre and uninspired. The best moments were when they referenced the soundtrack from the original film; the moment Renton touches the stylus to a record and you here the first couple of beats of Lust for Life your heart pauses. But that's it, that's as inspiring and as uplifting as the soundtrack gets and that was music from the previous film...


The problem was always going to be the comparison, and the film went out of its way to encourage that comparison, utilising key moments of the previous film stitched into this film... and again those were easily the most powerful moments... When spud turns around a corner and looks up the road to see the same stone steps that Renton runs down in the opening of the first film... quite moving... but these are all from the first film... sorry, a film missing so much that really could have been a lot more

tastemaker

I had mixed emotions before booking to see T2 - my main fear being that it would detract from the near-perfect original.

Thankfully the film is so well sculpted by Danny Boyle that it never attempts to outdo or match its predecessor. Instead it gives well timed nostalgic call-backs and references that are reflective and often poignant.

It's a real joy to see the 4 leads back together again- fascinating to see how they've aged, especially alongside the flashback shots- and, as the original did, the film captures the mood of the present time really accurately.

Admittedly the second third could have been cut down a bit but soon picks up the pace again towards the climatic finale.

I'm so pleased they waited 20 years to make this sequel and I'm looking forward to watching it over and over again in the future.

Tastemaker

I have mixed feelings about this. The sequel was as good as I had hoped for but it’s just never going to stand alone the way Trainspotting does: the soundtrack, the story - that was an era defining film. And maybe it’s not supposed to be, perhaps this was just about creating a respectful tribute. There’s a lot of throwbacks to the original throughout, in fact it’s a complete nostalgia fest. I did enjoy some of these: the soft intro to Born Slippy running through some of the scenes, giving you just enough without needing to drop. Others: the Choose Life rant, in my opinion, was better left alone. Overall, I think the actors did themselves justice, for one, Begbie still scares the bejesus out of me. I just wonder if this might not have been better left alone; seeing them all grown up, taking selfies, not having moved on from the 90s drug and rave culture was a bit sad.


This movie is not easy to rate - parts of it are stunning and just plain brilliant, parts of it are dull and pointless. The plot has two parallel narratives running together - one a nostalgic and melancholic study of the original Trainspotting characters coming together again, that is poignant and very funny, the other a vacuous rehash of 'Porno' that is flat and irrelevant. It would have been much better to ditch the 'Porno' material - the other character-driven material is well worth waiting 20 years for and would have worked fine as a movie all on its own. And the scene in the Unionist club is hilarious. Does the film succeed? Yes - but only just.

tastemaker

If you loved "Trainspotting" ( like I did ) this will take you down memory lane. The best parts are the repeated extracts from the original. In fact you will probably get more pleasure from returning to the original.

If you have never seen the original, I doubt if this will be of much interest (or that you will have much of a clue what it's all about).

Danny Boyle has made a very stylish & professional job of the film, but has made little attempt on providing any interesting narrative. Still I hope Danny & all the original cast had a good time at their reunion, and look forward to Danny moving on to more original work.

Tastemaker

So I've read the book, watched the movie, bought the soundtrack - I am officially a Trainspotting fan girl. I was so excited for this film - but also a little apprehensive. How could anything capture the spirit of one of my favourite films and move us on 20 years - could it work? Should it work?


Well this Daniel Blake meets lock, stock and 2 smoking barrels prequel/sequel managed it. The characters were credible in their 40s and true to their younger selves. I'm no Edinburgh expert but I got  real sense of the disparity in income and how much has changed and yet for some so little. Drugs were less prevalent but their long term effects on peoples lives and outlook was certainly there. 


The flashbacks and the hints of the previous soundtrack were perfectly judged. The film is exciting, funny, sad and bleak all at the same time. It's easy to feel nothing happens - but I think that's the point. For some people their lives feel full of drama yet actually day to day, week to week very little of any real meaning happens.


I want to watch this again as I am sure there are many references and visuals I did pick up on!


If you were an original Trainspotting fan I don't think you will be disappointed. If you don't know the original I genuinely dont know if this film has enough stand alone value.


Tastemaker

I’m not sure whether it is because I’m not a teenager anymore or because the film just wasn’t that great but I found it passable, with a hint of boredom.

It was nothing more than a pale copy of the first film, without a proper storyline or actual events throughout. The acting and characters were obviously still very interesting but that’s the only thing saving the film.

If you were a massive fan of the film or book, you will probably still enjoy it but it’s far from being an unmissable of 2017.

Tastemaker

The follow-up movie loosely based on Porno which was the literary sequel to trainspotting. I have read the book and well it did not really have many parallels at all. So do not go in there expecting the book. 


It was an entertaining movie with the right level of nostalgia. However the whole plot line was useless, you sort of reach the end of the movie and wonder why they bothered with that convoluted storyline to sort of end up back at square one- there is a little bit of character progression and that's about it.


However, it didn't completely ruin the memory of the first movie. It's a nice-ish sequel, but as a stand alone movie it isn't great.