reflection

There wasn't one standout performance, but I did love the ensemble.The strongest parts of this film were the direction, writing, and cinematography. The weakest part was its music. The music added an element of nostalgia to the movie but didn't enhance it all that much. Overall, the film is certainly worth checking out (especially if you liked the first film).
Acting
Directing
Writing
Cinematography
Music

‘T2: Trainspotting’ Review: An Enthralling Follow Up To The Original

In theaters around the country, Danny Boyle’s ‘T2 Trainspotting’ is a quality sequel that doesn’t rehash the same narrative but builds on it.

Summary

It’s been 20 years since we have seen Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) ditch his partners in crime and take 16,000 pounds of drug money that wasn’t all his. We find out that Renton did leave Spud (Ewen Bremmer) his cut, but he kept the portions belonging to “Sick Boy” (Jonny Lee Miller) and the dangerous Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Renton has been living in Amsterdam and working as an accountant. Mark is clean and feels he should go back home to own up to his past actions. Spud is still a Heroin addict who seems to have a death wish. Sick Boy runs a pub by day and runs scams at night with his girlfriend Veronika (Ahjela Nedyalkova). He appears to have two goals in life – snort more coke than any human alive and turn his pub into a working brothel. Begbie is denied parole once again causing him to be enraged and knock out his court-appointed attorney. He immediately sets his sights on breaking out jail. Unfortunately, it involves him being shanked by one of his fellow inmates. He eventually escapes and heads home. Begbie has delusions that a reconciliation with his family is possible. This plan immediately takes a back seat when he learns that Renton is back in town. Begbie would love nothing more than to kill the man who once stole from him.

T2 Trainspotting

Writing and Direction

Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Hodge crafts a screenplay with some familiar beats to the original film. However, T2: Trainspotting isn’t the same story of 4 Scottish men lost in a word of drugs and crime. It’s a story of redemption. Spud is starting to take up writing about his adventures growing up in the hopes of proving his self-worth. “Sick Boy” is tired of a life where he’s financially struggling and wants to make it big (even if it means opening up a brothel). Begbie wants his family to love him again. Mark only wants forgiveness for his past transgressions.

Hodge realizes that even though this narrative is different, the fascinating part of this film is what utter messes these men are. Boyle understands this as well and does not let the audience forget it. Instead of keeping the focus on moments of dialogue discussing redemption and forgiveness, we are treated to scenes of Sick Boy chasing a man with a fake penis. While some might have anticipated some heated moments during the film, audiences will roar with laughter when they see the chase sequence between Begbie and Mark.

Acting

Often when a sequel is released, it’s missing a certain spark amongst the actors. T2 appears to be the exception. The spark in this film isn’t derived from one standout performance but the chemistry of this ensemble. Each character is an integral part of the tapestry of this new tale. Eliminate one of them, and the story ultimately falls apart.

For example, there is a story line that involves Viktoria trying to con Mark, Spud, “Sick Boy” out of the small business loan they have received. All of this is occurring while Begbie is scheming how to corner Mark and get his revenge. If Mark or “Sick Boy” are eliminated, then the story loses its love triangle dynamic. Remove Spud and the whole part of the storyline where Viktoria offers to run off with him disappears. If Begbie isn’t part of the story, then the whole narrative is far less fun.

Cinematography

Academy Award-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle once again pairs up with Danny Boyle for the Trainspotting sequel. Mantle uses hand-held cameras to capture the most intimate of moments on film. For example, during the first act, he pulls in tightly using a handheld camera to capture on Spud’s suicide attempt. Those 30 seconds were chilling, and the shot of his face struggling for his last breath was horrifying. My only regret is Boyle didn’t utilize Mantle like he was on Slumdog Millionaire (the film he won an Oscar for).

Overall

T2: Trainspotting revisits some of the more nostalgic moments from the original movie. We witness these lovable band of losers still running amuck through Edinburgh. Even the soundtrack includes some songs from the original. However, there is nothing stale about Danny Boyle’s latest project. He deftly weaves in themes of redemption, forgiveness, regret, and sadness with some intimate moments from the first film. The result is a final product that appeals to an older generation of fans and drives new ones to his work.

Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.

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'T2: Trainspotting' Review: An Enthralling Follow Up To The OriginalThere wasn't one standout performance, but I did love the ensemble.The strongest parts of this film were the direction, writing, and cinematography. The weakest part was its music. The music added an element of nostalgia to the movie but didn't enhance it all that much. Overall, the film is certainly worth checking out (especially if you liked the first film).