Saturday, 4 February 2017


Starring Ewan McGregor, Ewan Bremmer, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle and Anjela Nedyalkova. Written by John Hodge, directed by Danny Boyle. Budget $18 million. Running time 117 minutes long. Certificate 18.

It's been 20 years since the first Trainspotting film, which is handy because this belated sequel is set 20 years after the original movie, what an amazing and happy co-incidence. The film follows Ewan McGregor's Mark Renton, who one day with no explanation,  leaves behind his life in Amsterdam to travel back to his childhood home of Edingbourgh. There, determined to make amends for the fact that 20 years earlier he stole £4000 from each of his friends, Mark tries his best to reconcile himself with his old best friends. But life hasn't been as kind to those he left behind. First there's Ewan Bremmer's Spud, still a hopeless smack head, but now estranged from his ex-girlfriend and son, jobless and suicidal. Then there's his old best friend Simon (Jonny Lee Miller) who now runs his dead Aunt's old run-down pub and dreams of turning it into a brothel with his girlfriend, Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova). And last, but by no means least, there's the still psycho, but far slower, Begbie (Robert Carlyle) who breaks out of prison and tries to reconnect with his wife and grown up son unaware that Mark has returned. The film follows Mark as he tries to re-unite with his old friends, helping Spud to break his drug habit and, after a violent showdown, agreeing to help Simon raise £100,000 to build his massage parlor. Meanwhile, Mark falls for Simon's girlfriend, Spud starts to write stories based on his life and Begbie spirals out of control and fate conspires to bring them altogether for one final brutal showdown...

This is a surprisingly funny film, which despite lacking the savage energy of the original movie is still highly entertaining and enjoyable. Although it's hardly surprising that it's a slower and less frenetic than that first movie, especially since everybody involved is 20 years older, much like it core audience, and indeed that's part of the charm of the film, it's good to meet these characters again after so long. They've all aged, which is strangely satisfying. Spud is well on his way to going bald, so is  Simon and Mark has a heart condition and Begbie has lost that lethal Whippet thinness and become rather stocky. You find yourself wanting to see how their lives have developed, you want Mark and Simon to become friends again, you realise you've missed Spud and you find yourself dreading what will happen when Begbie finally gets his hands on Renton.

Danny Boyle's direction feels a little like he's on auto pilot, as his little tricks and ticks stutter their way through movie, not because it feels organic but because it's his schtick. The songtrack is simply superb and the nods and winks to the original film are almost legion in number and trigger fond memories. However as a movie, this isn't a total success. It builds wonderfully and for the most part feels almost plot-free as it just follows the old friends refinding themselves. But then the plot sort of slides into view and the scene is set for the final showdown and the film sort of loses it's aimless charm. And there's a distinct lack of chemistry between Miller and McGregor, mostly because Miller never loses his angry scowl.

Nevertheless this was an enjoyable and very entertaining film and I can't wait to buy the soundtrack.


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