20 years after the first film is set Renton ‘Rentboy’ returns to Edinburgh having come to a dead end in his life. What does he come home to? This is the subject of the rest of the film, and knowing where Rents comes from means that it’s likely to be a bumpy ride. He reconnects with Spud and Sickboy and the audience is taken along with him, finding out what’s happened to them in the intervening years. And then there’s Begbie, who’s penchant for casual violence has not diminished over time.
The actors are 20 years older, the characters are twenty years older: it looks and feels right. Edinburgh is the same and the same problems exist, but scenes of Edinburgh’s cityscape in 2016 are lovingly peppered and juxtaposed with classic moments from Trainspotting - Renton, Spud and Sickboyrunning away from the police on Princes Street, Renton’s face in the car windscreen, a return to the scene of ‘It’s shite being Scottish’, to name but a few.
As a match for the first film, well, there really is no match. As a sequel to the first film it does an excellent job: there is convincing continuity as well as the almost theatrical staging of some of the scenes, one of the hallmarks of a Danny Boyle film. The iconography is just as sharp in T2 and pays homage beautifully to the original.
I watched Trainspotting the day before going to see T2 and although it stands alone very nicely, I’d recommend watching the first one beforehand, just for the pleasure of watching these Scottish radges* again if nothing else.
• Scottish term for one who is a bit mental and may enjoy getting into fights
Today wonderful words come from the fingers of Jude Durnan.
Friend of the arts and friends of many a bottle of Scotch.