Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.
Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting. Jaap Buitendijk

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

OVER the last few years sequels have popped up that nobody expected, such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Dumb and Dumber.

In most cases they have all sunk without a trace because to be honest, they were awful.

So when it was announced that after 20 years a sequel to the cult 1996 movie Trainspotting was in the works, the question every fan asked was, "could lightning strike twice?”

T2 Trainspotting opens with a 10-minute assault on your senses as only returning director Danny Boyle can. One by one we are introduced to the characters we all know from the 1996 original.

How will Renton's friends feel about seeing him again after he ripped them off then disappeared?

Ewen Bremner, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.
Ewen Bremner, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting. Jaap Buitendijk

Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewan Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) are all older, but not necessarily wiser.

Just like the audience who will go to see this movie, they are all facing middle age and asking, "is this it?”

One thing's for sure, and that's not all of Renton's former friends will be happy to see him.

He is not seeking forgiveness, but wants to rekindle old friendships in the city of Edinburgh which has changed so much since he was last there.

As Mark leaves the airport he asks a girl handing out tourist guides where she's from, and the answer is Slovenia. Yes, the UK has changed a lot since Mark gave us his "choose life” speech before shooting up some heroin.

The tone is set when Simon (AKA Sick Boy) sees the returning Renton and says "Hello Mark... what have you been up to for the last 20 years?” before laying into him with two decades of pent-up anger.

Begbie is in prison, Sick Boy runs a pub with a side business in blackmail, Spud is still battling a heroin addiction and Renton has been in hiding in Holland.

Yet somehow, these characters all gel together to the point where you quickly forget the gap between movies.

T2 will not attract any new viewers, as if you haven't seen the original it will make no sense to you at all, but Boyle's style that defines his movies is all over this sequel, which seems as fresh as his work was back in 1996.

At times it is daring, in-your-face filmmaking that will have you glued to your seat as it takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and nostalgia.

T2 is funny, dramatic, charming, scary and above all, packed with dialogue that will be quoted as often as its predecessor.

Wonderful lines like "We are tourists in our own youth,” will hit a chord with anyone in their 30s-40s who will be returning to Trainspotting, and even better is a 2017 version of the "choose life” speech that is so well written you will agree with every line.

Lines like "Choose posting a picture of your breakfast on Instagram in the vain hope that someone, somewhere actually cares” are what make this movie so good, and so timely.

As a fan of the original, T2 had a lot to live up to, but under the guidance of Danny Boyle, he has excelled all expectations. This is a rare sequel that is just as good as the first, and fans will not be disappointed. If only all sequels were as good as this one.

T2 is a masterclass in how to use a 20-year gap between movies to your advantage.

Opens Thursday, February 23.

T2: TRAINSPOTTING

Rating: R18+

Director: Danny Boyle

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle

Reviewer: Darren Hallesy

Verdict: 4 stars



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