Film Review: T2 TRAINSPOTTING (UK 2017) ****

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T2.jpgDirector: Danny Boyle
Writers: John Hodge, Irvine Welsh (novels)
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly McDonald

Review by Gilbert Seah

T2 TRAINSPOTTING, the 20-years after sequel to TRAINSPOTTING, is so-called after the filmmakers got the rights to use T2 (hasta la vista baby to T2 standing for TERMINATOR 2) arrives with all the characters as well as the actors and director/writer after ageing a full 20 years. Hopefully, the elapsed 20 years have made each person smarter. Judging from the movie, they certainly have.

The original can be remembered (even after 20 years) for its catchy beginning sequence when Renton runs at full speed on the street only to stop with the camera right in front of him. A reverse of that effect is achieved brilliantly at the start of T2. Renton (Ewan McGregor) is now running on a treadmill at full speed, trips and falls flat on the gym floor. The camera is neither stationary nor the character but ends with both in motion before the final shot.

Boyle is directing in top form with all the energy and innovation as his first films. I have been a Boyle fan for his early films like SHALLOW GRAVE, TRAINSPOTTING and 28 DAYS LATER and not too keen on his later ones like his over talky STEVE JOBS (there is an extended talky sequence in T2 when Renton rants about ‘choosing life’), SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and not especially with his 2012 summer Olympics opening ceremonies.

Though it is not necessary to have seen or be familiar with the original, it is recommended to view the fist film in order to appreciate T2. All the four characters have gone on in life, though their personalities have remained intact. Renton leaves Amsterdam to return to Edinburgh. He meets up with Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) who still blames him for ripping him of with money from the first film. Begbie (Robert Carlyle) has broken out of prison while Spud (Ewen Bremmer) is still hooked on candy. The villain of the piece is Begbie, who is as violent as ever, seeking to kill Renton for stealing his money.
All the actors are nothing short of perfect in their roles including Kelly Macdonald as Sick’s Boy’s girlfriend, Diane.

The film is much an action film as a character driven piece. The action sequences are well executed (the car chase/escape where Renton jumps on the roof of a car; the fight in the dilapidated building; the club scene) as well as the dramatic confrontations. Audiences should expect and be warned of the excessive violence, swearing and drug use in the film.

Boyle also dazzles the audience with his fancy camerawork at the start and also in the unforgettable sequence when the camera pulls back from Renton’s room into a abysmal corridor.

But T2 delivers – as each actor, director and writer demonstrates. The film is impressive in all departments but most of all, it brings closure to what Boyle celebrated – the use of heroin. This mature film displays the characters now mature and grown up with the drugs perspective put well in place, artistically and less graphically.



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