Review: T2 Trainspotting
It’s an accusation levelled at Ewan McGregor’s Renton, who has returned to Edinburgh to face the friends he ripped off 20 years earlier – but it’s also a line that could be levelled at anyone hoping this belated, much anticipated sequel could recapture the rush of the original when there’s no real chance it could or should.
The characters, after all, are older, sadder, more pathetic, their youthful hedonism now replaced with a crushing realisation that without a meaningful drug habit (or outlet for their violent urges in Begbie’s case) their dripping-with-irony “choose life” mantra is now a depressing actuality.
As their meaningless lives continue – against all odds – to stretch out cruelly before them, nostalgia has become their replacement drug of choice and Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge have been pretty canny in acknowledging this, using the loose framework of Irvine Welsh’s own follow-up novel, Porno, to craft a story about friendship and regret and the passage of time.
In its best moments, the film deploys an inventive range of flashbacks to the first film to show the extent to which nostalgia exerts its grip. It can be shocking because of how old the cast look compared to their 20-something selves (even the relatively well-preserved McGregor), but it can also be poignant in its evocation of the way memories can linger and haunt you, triggered by the streets you walk, the buildings you pass, the people you see and, by extension, the movies you love.
On general release