It has been 20 years since the original ‘Trainspotting’ graced - or rather disgraced - our screens. Back then it was a glaring portrayal of the rave generation. It didn’t hold anything back, and almost created its own form of visual language. So how do the gang stack up when they get back together 20 years later?
After two decades living abroad, Mark (Ewan McGregor) returns to Edinburgh where it doesn’t take him too long to fall in with old friends Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller). Old habits die hard it would seem, and he's soon once again embroiled in activities that aren’t quite legal. Once Franco (Robert Carlyle) escapes from prison, a whole other world of problems is released.
Almost the whole original cast is back, which is no mean feat, and should provide the fans of the original what they have (apparently) wanted for the last 20 years. But the world has changed a lot since the original grungy and gritty film, and T2 might have been better left in the station. Don’t get me wrong, the cast are great, they do a brilliant job of picking up the characters that made them superstars all those years ago.
I was constantly wondering why this film has been made. It didn’t really tell us anything new or show us a world we would normally have chosen to ignore like the original, and it didn’t show the characters progress particularly further than they originally had. What it did do was provide us with a huge hit of nostalgia that seemingly people have been pining for. This was essentially what I took away from the whole experience. But nostalgia in and of itself is not enough to sustain those who weren’t ultimate fans.
The world has changed a lot since the original grungy and gritty film, and T2 might have been better left in the station.
It was a very risky move making a sequel to one of the most iconic movies of last century. Unfortunately for T2, it doesn't pack the same punch. The same visual style was used as the original and there were plenty of references its predecessor in there – some often quite on the nose – that it almost felt like it wasn’t giving the target audience who, once in their 20s and are now in their 40s, can probably handle having to figure out some things for themselves, instead of being told “You’re watching a sequel, see this bit was like the first one and you definitely liked the first one.”
Most of the rave generation now likely all have mortgages and responsibilities (or they are dead), and this is basically what has happened to the characters. The whole thing is a little too polished and a little too watered down. But maybe we're used to more intense subject matters these days? Either way, if you liked the original and felt it particularly sang to you and your group of friends back then, it is likely that it will again. For the rest of us, we’ll be scratching our heads and wondering what the point of all of it was.