How often does a sequel that comes out 20 years after the original come close to re-capturing the magic? Not often but Trainspotting 2 does. The boys (and Renton’s statuatory rape case Catholic school girl) all return for the sequel. Mark Renton returns to Scotland to find Spud suicidal, Sick Boy who has taken up a life as a blackmailer, and Begbie who is hell bent on revenge after getting screwed at the end of the first film.
If you like callbacks, this is your film. There are so many nods to the original that some of you may get sick of seeing them and beg for the film have its own story. I’m not one of those people, I enjoyed the nostalgia. Are there more drug hazed moments of reflection? Check. Is there a ton of unintelligible Scottish dialogue? Check. Thankfully, they subtitle that “English.” Is the soundtrack banging like the first one? Check. They even had a few of the songs from the first remixed and put into the second film. I’m pretty sure you can figure out which ones. And one of director Danny Boyle’s strengths is picking songs for a film and I guarantee you’ll walk out of the theater picking out songs to download.
Renton, Sick Boy, and Spud all plan on building a brothel, the brainchild of Sickboy. However, Sickboy has an ulterior motive which is screwing over Renton who also was screwed by Renton in the first film. Renton catches wind and now is out to screw Sickboy. Everyone’s out to pull a fast one on each other except Spud, who’s contemplated becoming a writer of his heroin induced escapades. And of course, Begbie is tracking down Renton like lion stalking his prey on the Serengeti.
This film is much darker than the first and Robert Carlyle is the driving force behind that darkness. He’s played several, loathsome assholes in films: The Beach, the first Trainspotting, and in one of the most forgettable Bond films, the World is Not Enough. Forgot that one? Let me refresh your memory, it’s the one that had Denise Richards in it…as a nuclear physicist. Repeat, nuclear…physicist. In fact, I’d like to nominate Begbie into the top 10 movie assholes of all time. He escapes from prison and comes home to get his son, who is attending college, into the family business of burglaries. He’s back to his ways of being a general asshole to anyone who is going about their day. And the scene where he finally tracks down Renton is fantastic.
I totally dug this film. Is it as good as the first one? Maybe, I’ll have to re-watch it to compare. But it’s definitely in the ballpark.
7 out of 10.