So it’s taken 20 years for a sequel to come out to the amazing Trainspotting, which is quite frankly one of the greatest British films of all time. Thing is this fits with the books as there’s a big time gap between Trainspotting and the sequel book. I read a bit about this film and it seems there were mainly two types of opinions people who thought, what is the point in this film? And people who loved the nostalgia the film threw at them. Then there’s the people who thought it was decent in it’s own right but not a touch on the original. So I guess you better read to find out which camp I fall into!
Director – Danny Boyle
Writers – John Hodge and Irvine Welsh wrote the books
Stars – Ewen McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle, Shirley Henderson, Anjela Nedyalkova, James Cosmo and Irvine Welsh.
Run Time – 117 minutes
Budget – $18 million
Tagline – Face your past. Choose your future.
Trivia – Danny Boyle has credited David Bowie with helping to be able to use various hit songs in the original movie inexpensively because he had ties with Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, and helped Boyle out because he was a fan of Shallow Grave (1994). For his own little personal tribute to him following his death, Boyle decided to shoot a moment where Renton goes through his record collection and finds a couple of Bowie’s albums. (In the novels, Renton is a fan of Bowie).
Trivia – When Simon and Begbie first meet in the pub, Simon makes up a story about a mutual friend of theirs traveling to Amsterdam and recognizing Renton. While the character name and situation are slightly different, this is how Simon/Sick Boy discovers Renton’s whereabouts in the novel “Porno”.
Mark Renton returns to Edinburgh 20 years after screwing all his mates bar Spud out of a drug deal. The resulting screw saw the psychotic Begbie jailed, a place he is still in when the film starts. It’s not long until we catch up with all the characters as I mentioned Begbie is in jail, Renton is clean and off the heroin, Spud is still Spud trying and failing to kick the drugs and hold down any kind of work, Sick Boy is running a blackmailing and drug empire as well as his pub.
The first part of the film is disjointed as we see what everyones up to and how Sick Boy doesn’t really welcome Renton back into his life, I mean who would? Storyline wise there’s not much that goes on in this movie. Begbie escapes jail and returns to his wife where he struggles to get an erection. His son doesn’t want to be like his good old dad either leaving him with nothing but revenge left on his mind.
Sick Boy’s girlfriend Veronika meets Spud and she encourages him to write down his stories of the group but she tells him to write them down as he says them, this is how Irvine Welsh’s books are written. Eventually Renton and Sick Boy bury the hatchet and try to get Sick Boy’s idea for a brothel off the ground.
The films plays through a series of nostalgic moments, videos of the group as they were in the old days play throughout. Flashbacks to the first film are shown, scenes recreated and as with all things that come full circle someone gets screwed over.
- I loved seeing the group of characters that many many people of my age loved and always have.
- Every actor despite it being 20 years on is so good at their character it’s as if they are really them and not just playing the part.
- Nice cameos from Irvine Welsh and Kelly MacDonald.
- Poor Spud ends up in a gross scene but one that doesn’t top the original one he was in.
- Everything coming full circle was a nice way to end the film.
- Begbie’s scenes stole the show, he was involved in the funniest things in the film but there was also enough to make you hate him.
- Spud writing the stories and reading them out to Begbie was a fantastic scene.
- Started off a bit disjointed.
- Too much effort in recreating things from the first film and visiting the same places rather than creating new things to laugh and cry at.
- Never quite captures the magic of the first film.
- Soundtrack isn’t a touch on the original.
The In Between
What seems to be the major mark against and for this film is the nostalgia, some people love it as it made them remember just how awesome the first film was. Seeing everyone again was great including the minor characters Kelly MacDonald the school girl from the first film cameoing along with James Cosmo as Renton’s Dad. Them getting off the train in the same place they did in the first one, the choose life moment, Renton’s wallpaper being the same. Showing us the scene from the first film where they run from the police.
Thing is is this too much? Should the film have tried to be it’s own rather than piggy backing on the originals success. Whichever way you swing this will most likely be the deciding factor on how much you’ll enjoy the film. A great trip down memory lane or a pointless film that didn’t need to be made?
Overall I quite enjoyed it in it’s own right it’s a decent movie, however it never lives up the original, I mean how could it? But if you somehow manage not to compare the two them this is a couple of hours of decent entertainment which in my opinion should have slightly cut back on the harping back to the amazing first film. In short give it a watch and you may enjoy it.
Overall Rating – 7/10