Returning to Scotland. So twenty years have passed since Renton (Ewan McGregor) screwed over his friends. He has come back home so see how they are doing. Now this is a case of making a sequel that nobody was asking for. Trainspotting is a perfect movie, and honestly, it could have just been left alone. But where your Dumb and Dumbers, Xander Cages and Wall Streets all failed is because they just wanted to come back and make one last run for a dollar before the well ran completely dry. Where Danny Boyle succeeds is that he genuinely wanted to revisit these characters after all this time, and all of them have aged exactly how you would expect them to.
Heroin is a hell of a drug.
The most interesting angle about this story is the reaction of the supporting cast when Renton comes back. He really did leave all of them in the rearview, so it is understandable why they’re all so mad and want to physically injure him upon his return. Some can get past that, but Begbie (Robert Carlyle) is such an insane loose cannon, there is sure to be fatal bloodshed if they cross paths. This story feels genuine, and getting everybody back together feels like a reunion in a good way. The original Trainspotting was the launching point of a number of careers, and you can tell that everybody has a palpable goodwill to these characters and this story. Danny Boyle’s staple creative cinematography and craft is still present, and every shot is in this is well thought out to the point of being comment worthy.
And even though Begbie is violent, this is not to be confused with the second Terminator film.
To make a sequel this long after the fact is a gutsy move, but it is one that I feel paid off. I don’t think this story needs to be made a trilogy, though, and I am perfectly fine with these characters just going about the rest of their lives off screen. T2 is for the fans, and it is a total love letter to the first movie. I will say that the rewatchability factor isn’t there like it is for the first film, and I don’t think I will need to watch it again (it’s also almost a whole half hour longer than the first movie). If you are a die hard fan of the first movie, you should absolutely take the time with this sequel to check back in with the characters.
T2 Trainspotting (2017) ****
– Critic for Hire