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Review: T2 Trainspotting

Roslyn Hull

20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie. IMDb

Choose life.

Choose action. Choose not to stay home and watch an endless back-patting exercise where the most interesting thing is the vast cost of the gowns and the minute amount an actress eats to fit into it.

Choose to get up out of that chair and go out. Choose a parking spot close to the entrance – it’s been a long day and who wants to walk that far? Choose a film that isn’t sci-fi, isn’t action. Don’t choose the comfort zone. Remember how you were challenged by the original and think about what Danny Boyle has done since.

Tell yourself it isn’t all about Ewan McGregor. Choose frozen yoghurt and choose not to eat popcorn because middle-age spread is real.

Sorry. Had to do that. If you saw the original or at any time in the last 20 years considered yourself a poster-pasting anarchist, you know why. And if anything, Renton’s rant in this film is even more telling. I would have punched the air if I wasn’t feeling beaten and beyond my use-by date because of his truths.

This film is a sequel with thorns.

The original film was rough and raw, like the book it was based on. It stuck its middle finger up at the establishment and screamed in the face of its audience. However, it is hard to sustain that anger, that nihilistic way of life forever. We are all mortal. And the brilliance, the genius of director Danny Boyle is that this really isn’t a more-of-the-same sequel, it is another chapter.

The first film was about the death wish of youth without a future, this is middle-aged men saying f*** me, I’m still alive, now what do I do? We get a dark mirror held up to our lives, our society and our values. But having said that, it is also HILARIOUS and quite gripping – I wanted to know what would happen next for the whole 117 minutes.

The journey of the four leads feels real, and in part, too familiar – life passes and we can recognise the losses and change. The scene where Renton’s dad talks about his mum as they sit at a kitchen table with clever lighting creating a sorrowful shadow really hit home.

However, it is just one of the clever cinematic effects Boyle uses to illustrate what we do when we return home or see a friend we haven’t seen for years – the tape of our memory re-runs old episodes over current events. And what a telling juxtaposition it is. In fact, this technique leads directly to a strong development in Begbie’s character – and you thought he would never change.

He was my least favourite in the original and I am so glad he gets his own story arc this time, Robert Carlyle is too good to repeat himself.

I love where all their stories go – first there is opportunity and then there is betrayal – and lives become something else because of this.

So very much worth the price of a ticket – I even think you would enjoy the story if you haven’t seen the original.

PS – I still watched the Oscars. I taped the live broadcast but the joke was on me. Presenting the last award (for Best Picture) was the most dramatic thing to happen at the ceremony since Marlon Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather to refuse his Best Actor Academy Award … aaaand my recording ending just before it happened!

Roslyn saw this film as a guest of Limelight Cinemas Tuggeranong

Feature image via


Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author