Choose a sequel. Choose nostalgia. Choose a soundtrack that doesn’t match the original, but manages to hold its own. Choose a cast that feel like old pals. Choose twisted humour and flashbacks. Choose T2.
Director Danny Boyle reunites Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Johnny Lee Miller), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Spud (Ewen Bremner) over two decades since their chaotic, drug infused lives hit our silver screens to the beat of Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life”, and while 20 years has passed since Renton’s betrayal to the tune of £16, 000, time has done nothing to heal the wounds of the “so-called mates” he fucked over.
Boyle presents a more polished production compared to the gritty original, but the spirit and humour of “Trainspotting” lives on its long-awaited sequel, with more than a couple of subtle nods to the 1996 cult classic; Renton swaps pounding the pavement to the treadmill, Diane’s tongue in cheek remark about age and the gang reliving “the great outdoors” in tribute to tragic Tommy, to name but a special few. Thankfully, time may have moved them on (or not at all in the sad case of Spud), but elements of these crazy characters that we embraced despite their flaws burn as bright as before; Sick Boy, now Simon, has matured in name only and still dabbles in brothels and blackmail, hapless Spud hasn’t really left Mother Superior’s while Renton might be heroin free and out to make amends for past sins, but is still easily influenced when a scam of the “Russian sailor” variety presents itself and Begbie? Franco’s still a a psycho, ken . . .
One of the most important elements that Boyle has managed to preserve in T2 is the twisted humour; undisputed highlight of Renton and Sick Boy’s impromptu sing song in a Unionist pub will ruin you, guaranteed! Boyle makes us wait and salivate before Renton’s iconic “Choose Life” speech makes an appearance, but it doesn’t disappoint. Gone is “the big fucking television, the three piece suite on hire purchase, the mind-numbing spirit crushing game shows and pishing your last in a miserable home” and T2 crashes into the 21st Century with zero hour contracts, social media, slut shaming, choosing the ones you love and your future. While it may pale in comparison to the original with regard to memorable quotes (. . . “No cunt leaves here ’til we find out what cunt did it!”, “It’s shite being Scottish!”, “My pleasure in other people’s leisure”, etc), T2 compensates with nostalgia, from the painful and poignant to the pissing yourself laughing, and seeing Renton, Begbie, Sick Boy and Spud together again on the silver screen is like being reunited with old mates.
If the closing scene doesn’t raise a sentimental smile, you must be one of those doss cunts that chose life.