Choose regret, denial and rekindling old friendships. Twenty years later, Mark Renton (Ewan Mcgregor) returns to Edinburgh following the death of his mother; Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Spud (Ewen Bremner) have not forgotten his betrayal.
A trip to his hometown kicks Renton’s mid-life crisis into full gear as he is confronted by the skeletons in his closet head on. T2 Trainspotting, is enjoyable, nostalgic and humorous—an excellent effort by Danny Boyle to reimagine the boys, now ‘men’ long past their period of excusable recklessness. It does not, however, possess the punchy energy of its generation defining predecessor.
The story begins on a treadmill in Amsterdam reflecting the modern aesthetic of the film. T1 closed on Renton’s declaration to choose life and it would appear he has done just that. But a twenty year stint in software development and one wife later, it hasn’t exactly worked out.
A recent divorce has made Renton question his life choices and much to the delight of Simon (Sick Boy), he has found himself at a standstill as to what exactly he should be doing.
An opportunity presents itself in the form of a leisure club, but will it be followed by betrayal? This is a recurring theme and line in the film that reconnects the original to the current storyline as Renton deals with the aftermath of ripping off his friends all those years ago.
A good portion of the film is spent exploring the relationship of Renton and Simon. We discover that Simon blames Renton’s actions for his failures in life. His grudge is weak when compared to that of Begbie who (once he has escaped from prison) is on the rampage for murderous revenge.
Carlyle’s portrayal of the violent sociopath is one of the highlights of the film, but a special mention must also be given to Bremner’s role as Spud, who undergoes extensive character development with the lovable idiot proving his insight through pen and paper.
Performances are excellent across the board but the disappointment of getting old is not nearly as exciting to watch as the glamorous drug infused past.
Boyle manages to return some of the nostalgia with uneasy camera angles, snippets of ‘Born Slippy’ and an improvised performance by Renton and Simon of a song about The Battle of The Boyne that encompasses the buzz of the original, but reminders of the present contribute to its failure to deliver as a classic.
The modern buildings and social media references reinforce that we have left the wonder of nineties Leith in the past.
The closing scene sees Renton dancing in his boyhood bedroom to “Lust for Life” in an attempt to immortalise the boy who caused all the raucous and you can’t help but want to watch him not choose life all over again.