O@tM: T2 Trainspotting

Hm, hubby like really really wanted to watch it, me was more like Pff … Let’s see how T2 turned out for both of us, shall we?

Another needless sequel?

First there was an opportunity……then there was a betrayal. Twenty years have gone by. Much has changed but just as much remains the same. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the only place he can ever call home. They are waiting for him: Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Other old friends are waiting too: sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, diamorphine, self-destruction and mortal danger, they are all lined up to welcome him, ready to join the dance.

IMDb: 7.6

I wasn’t expecting much from T2. Really, what were they trying to achieve here, in 2017 when there are sequels and prequels produced for every little shitfilm available. The thing with the original Trainspotting from 1996 was that it was original, that it was a cheap little film with a good message and chokful of new talents and filmed with a certain ugly finesse. I mean who doesn’t fondly remember the toilet diving scene … and the baby on the ceiling? That was exciting drama made into exciting cinema!

Even if the lighting suggests it, no, this ain’t a beer advertising.

What has changed in the last 20 years? The characters of course. They are not 17 anymore, so it’s hopeless to have them live through the same old drug-induced drama. And fortunately T2 doesn’t try to force this experience onto them and us, the audience. But what story, apart from their reintroduction can they tell us now? Not much as it turns out. And this is the main problem with T2: It doesn’t has a story to tell us.

Uh oh, did we run into trubbels, my friends? Too bad that no-one cares.

Not that T2 isn’t nice to watch. The DP gives us some astonishingly beautiful shots, outside scenes are sundrenched, the colours are vividly popping, it’s all so wrong for a movie like Trainspotting. This ain’t an ad campaign for life insurance or something ffs.

Obi-Wan Mark Rent-boy tries to keep his youthful charme … he tries.

The cast bumbles thru the movie in the same way we are watching it: They dunno what to do and what their purpose is. The only cast member who seems to have found a “real” life and a purpose is Kelly Macdonald‘s Diane, who’s a lawyer these days and appears in a short cameo. And that scene is exactly what I didn’t like at T2: It’s purely show-off, it’s nostalgia, it’s made for the audience to see what became of the cast, how they look now and where they are in life. The rest, the guys apart from Diane, is just a bunch of middle-aged men with ruined lifes but no energy to turn the ship – or the film – around.

Yeah, railroad tracks always make for nice desperate locations. But there’s no reason for Mark and Sick Boy to be here, so they are just a hollow symbol for the movie’s shallowness.

And the movie in itself follows the same pathetic way. Not that it was boring, the 117 minutes runtime went by without any lengths but also without any heights or a climax or any discernable story arc in any way. The whole thing appeared more like a snapshot of the cast’s life 20 years later. This surely has its own fascination but not quite enough to make a worthwhile film.

Yeah, camera gimmicky (for showing us the drug effect) doesn’t help this film neither. Sick Boy and Renton had no reason to share a needle again.

For me it becomes clear in scenes when our friends visit places they’ve been to in the first rendition of Trainspotting. They have no clue why the fuck they are supposed to be there. It all becomes hollow and shallow. Ok, that’s cool as it shows the flatness of the characters but it doesn’t make a good film.

Robert Carlisle’s Begbie is still the psychotic unpredictable gangster like in the first movie. In T2 he serves as “the thread” for Renton. That’s dramatization of the cheapest kind.

Another point neither hubby nor me liked was the rehash of Renton’s famous “Choose Life” list. What was cool and sarcastic as a movie opener in 1996 and found a suprising solution in “I choose something else …”, becomes a bitter, dark and hateful tirade in 2017. Maybe it’s sign o the times but it was disturbing. Hubby and me looked at each other with blank stares after Ewan McGregor finished his fireworks. What had served in 1996 just to describe the difference between normal society and junkies becomes political hate speech in the context of 2017. And this time around theres not even a conclusion to his list but just angry exhaustion.

Spud, the character who’s changed the lessest, surpisingly took the center stage in T2. One of the more banal sideshow characters taking a big part for me is just another sign that T2 had nothing of importance to tell us.

But, this got to be said, if you’ve never heard of Trainspotting before, didn’t watch the raw, visceral original movie or read Irvine Welsh’s powerful novel, you won’t get T2. At all. T2 exclusively works as a companion piece, as the complimentary T-Shirt to the original Trainspotting cinematic experience.

Trainspotting 2 filming in Edinburgh
Ewen Bremner’s Spud has aged quite well and is the same awkwardly innocent victim as in the orginal 1996 movie. He was also the character we had the most fun with.

CONCLUSION: T2 is like going with the cast and crew of Trainspotting on a trip down memory lane, a purely nostalgic thing. It fails to give us any insight into their lifes, into their personal development … and the worst thing is we don’t even wanna know. The producers could’ve wiped out the whole cast in a shootout right in the first few minutes, it would’ve had the same non-effect on us.

A badly constructed and dramatized party scene made for ne of the very few highlights in T2. Yes, it’s that hopeless.


Who else than fellow Brit (ouch, careful now, Orca: Are Scots even British?) Mark Kermode to review T2 …


  1. wow saw that ages ago i found the first one sadly disappointing as i’m not a train spotting fan, and let’s be honest the jocks are drunken idiots for which i have considerable disdain in general
    second one was better not much, but better however if you are a train spotting fan you will want to shoot me PLEAASE do it in
    SL so i can re rez thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • “the jocks are drunken idiots”
      Sammie! Trainspotting ain’t about alcoholism (it’s only Begsby drinking much) but about drug addiction. In the case of Traisnpotting it’s the oldfashioned Heroin. Anyhoo, how you could find the second one better is beyond me and anyone else who watched it. It was more package than content and had basically no story to tell us. A lot of pretty but ultimately empty frames and no drama whatsover. 😦


  2. OHH that was a general comment about the jocks not a movie comment xxx if you read the complete sentence you would have realised xx


    • As a general habit I read all sentences in all comments from start to finish, although in your case it’s sometimes pretty hard since you seem to lose track of your own thoughts quite often. So you are treated like a very special snowflake in sofar that I read all your posts extra slowly. 😮 So what jocks were you talking about? The old gang, Renton, Begsby, Sick Boy and Spud, right? Yes, they are/were fukn idiots, no drunkards but hardcore heroin addicts. I’m not a trainspotting fan in any way but I loved the first movie. Ok, the book was good, the first movie was a rollercoaster ride betweeen fun and unbelievable sadness and social criticism and was pretty okay and left a strong impact. The second one went down like reheated Fish&Chips, didn’t hurt but was ultimately of no culinary value.

      Please if you’re the only person on the planet who found T2 any better than T1, can you please elaborate what made you come to that conclusion?


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