T2 Trainspotting



17 March 2017| No Comments on T2 Trainspotting     by Sean Chavel


Twenty years after the landmark original about intoxication junkies (and wiring us visually into the transient thrill of it), this sequel has only small fragments of things to say about how these middle-aged drug abuse survivors stay afloat. What fully tarnishes T2: Trainspotting is a hackneyed revenge plot that feels overblown. Ewan McGregor reprises Mark Renton, the guy who ripped off his friends at the end of the original – and the movie repeatedly hammers home that point that he stole from his mates – and after the disintegration of his marriage and sprung on bad health, he leaves his salvation home of Amsterdam to return to, well, hell. That hell being Edinburgh, Scotland, where hellions don’t care about anybody or anything (the radical dream sequence in the 1996 original had a character swim inside a toilet as a metaphor, the sequel has no such scene to come close to equaling that). If Renton had seen the superior Norwegian film “Oslo, August 31st” or any other drug abuse survivor movie, he’d know that returning to the place that soaked up his young life in debasement will do nothing but stir same old troubles for himself all over again.

There was once a crazed daredevil latitude to Renton, and the libido that McGregor brought to the character was extreme, spontaneous, tactile. But McGregor’s efforts as an actor this time are slothful – he acts with the vigor of a man who has rolled out of bed in the morning and showed up on the set, without coming up with any fresh imagination to approach the character. As for the others, Jonny Lee Miller (as Sick Boy), Ewen Bremner (as Spud) and Robert Carlyle (as Francis) are all back. For Francis, he’s been in prison for twenty years. After learning that his parole has been rejected, he’s going to be in for another five. I’m going to spoil it for you by telling that he breaks out of prison. And the movie’s biggest plot hole is that, as he returns home to his life, the script never deals with the fact that he’s a fugitive and that law enforcement agents should want to hunt him down. Huge plot hole.

Sick Boy, who snorts lines of cocaine and sets up prostitution blackmails on johns for a living, is super angry, wants payback, and hey, also wants to open a brothel that will be a sauna as a cover. Francis, a sociopath and blowhard, wants to crush, mangle, suffocate, maim and then kill Renton whenever he gets the chance. Inevitable showdowns will be had, and I must say, it’s so needlessly drawn out that the last twenty minutes feels like forty-five. In the middle of this, there’s a little distraction in the shape of Anjela Nedyalkova (as Nikki), a hooker and streetwise hustler who is drawn with more dimension than this type is usually allowed to have in a movie like this. She is enigmatic, certainly street smart, seductive in her poise and stillness, and Renton is hooked on her and so are we.

And sure, some early minutes of the film compels interest. Renton and Spud have been off drugs for awhile, yet they seemed to have met middle-aged failure. They should have had the resources to sustain a good life, but it is as if their early life of drug abuse has hovered over their entire lives and it tainted them without fade. The movie is actually huge on this whole malaise. Director Danny Boyle has a mixed career of greatness (“127 Hours”) and duds (“Trance”), but one way or another he’s usually recycling his bag of tricks. He cuts in razor-sharp edits, plays with kaleidoscopic colors, slides his camera around – all this scuttlebutt imagery is looking for extra meaning. What it amounts to is a repetitive numb feeling. “T2” drags on.

117 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Trainspotting” (1996, United Kingdom); “Jesus’ Son” (2000); “Oslo, August 31st” (2012, Norway); “The Master” (2012).

T2_Sequel Review_Trainspotting_Danny Boyle

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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