“Take the best orgasm you’ve ever had, multiply it by a thousand, and you’re still nowhere near it,” says Renton in reference to joys of heroin in the cult classic Trainspotting and about the same can be said for T2.
The original boys return for the long awaited and slightly feared sequel based on novelist Irvine Welsh’s 2002 follow-up ‘Porno’.
With screenplay half based on the latter and half nostalgically flicking back to the antiheroes days of ‘choose life’ slogan t shirts and sprinting through the streets of Edinburgh to Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, Danny Boyle hasn’t let us down.
The black comedy finds them 20 years later haunted by age more so than heroin.
Ewan McGregor’s Mark Renton is introduced to us on a treadmill in an Amsterdam gym seemingly having turned his life around.
However, ravaged by a mid-life crisis Renton returns to find endearing Spud played by Ewen Bremner trying to end his tragic life with his head in a plastic bag, Jonny Lee Miller’s Simon, aka ‘Sick Boy’, still holding bitter resentments against their former ‘best friend’ for the betrayal two decades ago.
While psychopathic Francis Begbie played by Robert Carlysle has served the years in HMP Edinburgh for murder, until now.
The appeal of the original Trainspotting was that it gave a voice and a form of twisted hope to characters who would usually be written off as layabouts and victims of their environment and this appeal was not lost in the sequel and evermore apparent in character, Spud, who is hilarious yet the audience learn he possesses heartbreaking hidden depths making it impossible to not root for him.
The story is driven by Simon’s plans for his new prostitution business, blackmail, a splash of addiction and an underlying darkness of revenge but at the heart of it life long friendships and reminiscing remain Boyle’s recurring themes.
Although T2 can’t possibly match the 1996 original, it certainly won’t tarnish it. Choose T2.