Length: 117 minutes / 1.95
In the vein of successful and groundbreaking films receiving sequels two decades after the fact (I’m looking at you, Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)), director Danny Boyle is at it again with T2 Trainspotting (2017). While the original Trainspotting (1996) was a fun bit of cinema that used a unique visual style to emulate the sensations of the highs (and lows) of drug use, the ending was pretty definitive. Still, because drug use can have long-lasting effects, the Trainspotting sequel is an important part of the whole narrative.
Unfortunately, as is the case with these types of sequels, the story didn’t change at all. After all, if it worked once, what’s to say it won’t work again. T2 Trainspotting continues to glamorize the party lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in a visual style that’s fun to watch. Of course, what was a little interesting about this sequel is that it was almost self-aware of what it was: a hit of nostalgia. One of the most expensive and profitable drugs of our current society is nostalgia, and this film hits it right on the head. The occasional rants from these characters, Mark Renton’s (Ewan McGregor) being the best of the set, turn a harsh light on a film industry that can’t manage to do anything new.
While the themes of drug recovery, rehab, and relapse are still present in this film, albeit, via different characters this time around, it’s interesting how old habits can die hard. Some of the consequences of the first film played out a bit in this one, but overall it had the same ending. There were brief references to the outcomes of the drug lifestyle throughout this film, but nothing ever seemed that significant to these characters. They didn’t care about abandoned children, broken marriages, or legal troubles. They only cared about their next high, be it from Viagara, adrenaline, or plain old cocaine.
A self-aware and almost identical follow-up to a great film, I give T2 Trainspotting 3.5 stars out of 5.