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Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Shirley Henderson, James Cosmo, Anjela Nedyalkova
Three and a half stars (out of five)
The danger of waiting more than 20 years to revisit an era-defining classic like Trainspotting is the risk of being the cinematic equivalent of a Britpop reunion; all baggy trousers and mediocre comeback singles, with none of the vitality that made people love it the first time around.
The beauty in the awkwardly (and perfectly) named T2 Trainspotting is the remembrance of better times embedded in almost every frame; not only for the characters, who have their own demons to contend with, but for the audience, who presumably have gone through a few changes themselves in the intervening years, and yet still yearn for one final hit.
Danny Boyle and his collaborators are smart enough to know that lightning never strikes the same place twice, so this continuation (companion piece would be more accurate) is a much different movie than its predecessor; older but not necessarily wiser, just as Irvine Welsh’s Porno, on which this is based, was a conventional follow-up to the cut ’n’ pished genius of his original.
In fact, the story is where it falls short, being mostly an excuse to get the gang in the same room together, where lifetimes of regret and missed opportunity converge in a coke-fuelled instant, and an unlikely hero is able, at long last, to emerge. As a wise man once said, "at one time you’ve got it, and then you lose it, and it’s gone forever". That’s beautifully [expletive] illustrated right there.
- Jeremy Quinn