T2: Trainspotting Reviewed By Jarred Tito


The Premise
Twenty years have gone by. Much has changed but just as much remains the same. Mark Renton returns to the only place he can ever call home. They are waiting for him: Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie. 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.

The Review
‘T2 Trainspotting’ is the latest offering from the Oscar award winning director, Danny Boyle, who leapt into directing stardom with his first major cult classic, ‘Trainspotting’ (One) or the first one, as it shall now always be referred to by some. ‘Trainspotting’, the first one, was also the film that kick-started the careers of quite a few and even catapulted some, like Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller, of Sherlock Holmes fame, into stardom. 

It’s Saturday night in Newmarket, Auckland. Outside the weather is still a little drizzly considering it’s the middle of Summer. Everyone is still recovering from a week of rain during a time when the only complaints are of sunburn, mosquitoes and being too hot to sleep at night. However, inside the Event Cinemas on Broadway, everyone has put the weather to one side. It’s been 20 years since ‘Trainspotting’ first took the movie-going world by storm, and now the follow up ‘reboot’ has arrived personally delivered by none other than the Oscar award winning director himself, Danny Boyle. Quite a delightful surprise for the many in attendance. Well, with the filmmaker in attendance, it was the perfect time to hear his thoughts and reasons for how the film was made and what he hoped it would be.

When questioned about ‘T2’ and how he thought it would be received some 20 years later, Boyle immediately referred us to Sony, the company financing the film, and what the procedure was and how that effected the story and the directing. Surprisingly their [Sony’s] first step is go straight to the audience (fan base) and ask them what they would like and expect in a sequel. The three things that were the most popular responses were, “Would the four main characters be in the sequel?”, “Will it be as good as the first one?” And thirdly, “Will the soundtrack be as good as the first one?” 

Firstly, “Would the sequel involve the four main characters from the first one?” The answer to that is a resounding, “Yes”. Ewan McGregor, Ewan Bremer, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle each play major roles in ‘T2’ and each of their characters are continuations from the originals, but 20 years later. 

In answering the second question, Boyle was quite open about the fact that making a sequel of any movie is difficult because the expectations are always going to be high and the movies will never completely satisfy all. He said something along the lines of, “If you make it too similar people will complain that it’s just a copy-cat of the first and feel ripped off.” And on the other hand, “If it’s nothing like the first one, they’ll feel ripped off.” So, he settled for, ‘the same but different’. After seeing ‘T2 Trainspotting 2’ myself I would definitely say that yes, Boyle has managed to keep the story very true to the original. It’s a logical step, even though it’s been 20 years, into the future of what these guys became and how they might be after what happened in the first movie. It makes sense that after a long period of time certain attitudes would develop in their own lives and regarding those left behind or betrayed. Getting the four characters back together in a believable way was the real challenge here which was done really well. Certainly, the same kind of film but a different story because of the time change. 

Director Danny Boyle doing some directing...
Lastly, does the movie have a good soundtrack? Yes, I liked it. Some of the music is new and a lot of it is nostalgic, but certainly all of it is good. However, I don’t think that this edition will have a spin off music success that the first film experienced, but that can be expected. After all, we are talking about the follow up to a cult classic.

The very nature of a cult classic is to be a standalone work of art with a very staunch following. A sequel will always only be a very good follow up but not normally a cult classic. Having said that, ‘T2’ is a great standalone film in its own right. Although seeing the original is always going to be the best prerequisite to this,it will provide you with enough story line to deliver a complete and satisfying movie experience. There is the ongoing tangle of unemployment, depression and heroin addictions that were the staple for ‘Trainspotting One’, but this features more retrospectively than in the first. Scenes like the ‘worst toilet’ aren’t really a feature in this picture but then the overall tone of the film is slightly more dramatic too, rather than comical. There is a lot of tension as each of the former best friends meet up again and there’s also a bit more of soul baring and reflection. Overall I would say this is a black comedy that occasionally heads in the direction of action comedy. I enjoyed seeing the development of Spud, Sick Boy, Begbie and Renton as they once again plough through the slightly darker side of the inner city Scottish life.

The Verdict
A pleasing film that delivers on all fronts including story lines, character journeys, suspense and drama. There are a few light-hearted moments, and even a little romance. It’s still quirky and still fun and is a very satisfying experience which will certainly appease the many fans and followers of the original.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 23rd February 2017
Rating: R16 – Contains Violence, offensive language, drug use, sex scenes & content that may disturb
Duration: 117 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle
Director: Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire)

The Extras
This is the first time since 1997 that Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle have worked together (since A Life Less Ordinary (1997)). The two had a falling out when McGregor was passed over for the lead in The Beach (2000) in favor of Leonardo DiCaprio. McGregor stated that they have since reconciled, and that he considers the whole matter "water under the bridge".

It has been stated that the film will be original rather than an adaptation from the novel.

Danny Boyle has credited David Bowie with helping to be able to use various hit songs in the original movie inexpensively because he had ties with Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, and helped Boyle out because he was a fan of Shallow Grave. For his own little personal tribute to him following his death, Boyle decided to shoot a moment where Renton goes through his record collection and finds a couple of Bowie's albums.

This is the first sequel that Danny Boyle has directed and the second sequel overall that he has produced (Boyle produced 28 Weeks Later (2007), the sequel to 28 Days Later... (2002)). He was considered as director for the fourth movie in the Alien franchise (which ultimately became Alien: Resurrection (1997), but passed on the opportunity over creative differences with the studio, and went on to do A Life Less Ordinary (1997) instead.

In development this film was titled "Porno", named after the sequel novel to 'Trainspotting'.

Jonny Lee Miller offered to shave his head to look older, but Danny Boyle insisted that Sick Boy retain his iconic blond hair.

Robert Carlyle kept away from his family in Glasgow while filming Trainspotting 2 because he became so much like Begbie.

In the first Trainspotting (1996), Johnny Lee Miller's Scottish accent was his own. He tested his accuracy in a Glasgow bar stating something along the lines of 'if I could wing it there I was ok'. In T2 however he had a dialect coach, something that Ewan Mcgregor jokingly put down to Miller not being drunk this time round!

The four main actors were not all available at the same time at the very beginning of principal photography, due to scheduling conflicts with other projects. Danny Boyle stated in interviews that the American TV careers of Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle in particular made it a necessity to have a reduced filming schedule that could accommodate all four of the male leads.


When Renton is rifling through his record collection a David Bowie record is clearly seen. This was placed as a way of acknowledging David Bowie's help in obtaining the music rights for the original _Trainspotting (1996)_. David was a big fan of Boyle's previous film Shallow Grave (1994).