Dan Gertler Reviews: T2 Trainspotting

Reviving a classic is risky business but T2 Trainspotting passes the test with flying colors.

The 2017 Danny Boyle film opens with Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), now 20 years older but none the wiser, once again running. Since he made off with the 16,000 pounds he bravely stole from his buddies after a heroin deal they made in the first film he has led an honest and dreadfully boring life. It is unclear what drew him back to Edinburgh, perhaps it was the death of his mother or simply longing to feel something once again, but either way he’s back and ready to repeat history. Sort of.

The whole plot is tied together thanks to Spud (Ewen Bremner). His dyslexia, childish and oddly romantic handwriting weaves a story within a story, tying the past with the present in a web of nostalgia, regret, and hope. Unmemorable in the first film, Spud might just be the most important character in T2. In an unforgettable scene, he is saved by Renton in what can only be described as a moment of pure elation. In his ridiculous innocence and pathetic expressions, he at once constitutes the light at the end of the tunnel and the painful reminder that our lives consist of unbearable suffering.

If anything, T2 would make you want to watch the first film (1996) again. The production cleverly plants snippets of the first film in key places including film-clips, music and echoes. We are reminded of the young Renton and Sick Boy (Johnny Lee Miller), of the power of their friendship and of its devastating consequences. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and although decades have come and gone the old wounds still haven’t healed. Above all, T2 reminds us how easy it is to give in and simply fall back into oblivion.

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