PLOT- T2 Trainspotting, picks up twenty-years after the 1996 film, with the original cast reprising their roles. Renton (Ewan McGregor) has been hiding out in Amsterdam, keen to keep well away from the friends that he screwed over twenty-years earlier. Simon "Sick Boy" (Jonny Lee Miller) is struggling to find money to pay for a cocaine habit and to keep his pub from going under. To make ends meet, Simon is running a scam with his eastern european girlfriend, Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova), where they secretly film high profile people in sexually compromising positions and blackmail them with the evidence. Begbie (Robert Carlyle) is in prison with no possibility of parole. His only way out is to orchestrate a prison break. Spud (Ewen Bremner) has spent the years struggling to maintain his sobriety, often failing. He has married Gail (Shirley Henderson) and they have a family. When Renton's mom dies, he returns to Scotland and must face his past.
LIKE- I love the first film and the writing of Irvine Welsh, so I was super excited for T2 Trainspotting. A word about the title, I read that the producers originally wanted to simply call the film T2, but since that is so heavily associated with James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgement Day, they added the Trainspotting to avoid confusion, hence the full name: T2 Trainspotting.
The best aspect of T2 Trainspotting, is how it manages to both honor the spirit of the original film, but is also fresh, adding to the story, rather than simply being a duplicate of the original. I absolutely loved how the music was used in the sequel. Director, Danny Boyle used many of the same songs used in the original, such as Iggy Pop's Lust for Life, however the songs were used at completely different points in the story. For example, in the first film, Lou Reed's Perfect Day, is used during Renton's overdose scene, but in the sequel, it's played over a scene showing the four main characters on the playground in elementary school. Same song, two entirely different tones. Music isn't the only area where Boyle has echoed the first film: both start with Renton running, in the original he is running through the streets in Edinburgh, and in the sequel, he is in a gym, running on a treadmill. The Renton of twenty-years earlier, would never have imagined himself running on a treadmill!
Renton repeats his famous "Choose Life" speech, which has been updated to reflect modern technology and trends. He basically calls the audience out on the way we document our lives on social media. It's uncomfortable and true.
T2 Trainspotting is much sadder than the first film. This has to do with the age of the characters and the general theme of history repeating itself, realizing that main characters have not changed very much, despite lessons that they should have learned. Now the characters are middle-aged and they have wasted a large chunk of their lives, opportunities have been missed, and they have only racked up more guilt. They are well-aware that they can no longer blame their actions on youth and even if they are not changing their lives, they are self-aware and ashamed. Further more, Begbie and Spud have families, which force them to see the toll that their actions have taken on their wives and children. It's gut wrenching.
Kelly Macdonald reprises her role of Diane, who is now a lawyer. Diane is all grown-up and not afraid to call Renton out on his actions. Macdonald has a small scene, but it was one of my favorite parts of the film.
Stylistically, the sequel is very similar to the original. Although I should have seen it coming, the story has a wonderful twist at the end, with all of the characters getting what they deserve.
DISLIKE- Nothing. T2 Trainspotting has a great script, excellent cast, and is a worthy follow-up to the original film.
RECOMMEND- Let's face it, these films are not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if you liked Trainspotting, then definitely go see T2 Trainspotting. If you haven't seen the first film, or if its been awhile, make sure to watch it before seeing the sequel.