21 years after Renton (Ewan McGregor) walked away with a heap of cash taken from his closest friends, he returns to the world of backstabbing, drugs and violence.
The film revolves around the characters we’ve grown to love from the original and how they deal with growing up and leaving (some successfully, some not) the drug world behind. Spud is by far the most compelling of the four as the narrative unfolds, despite them all having their own respective standout moments. Ewen Bremner charmingly transforms his vulnerable character into one that we find ourselves entranced by as the film develops, which is credible also to John Hodge’s magnetic screenplay, loosely adapting Irvine Welsh’s 2002 sequel “Porno”.
This does however result in a slightly mixed tone at times, for example, Begbie is constantly shifting from comic relief to villain. Furthermore, the female characters from the original are neglected, and while Anjela Nedyalkova’s enigmatic performance as Veronika in this film partially compensates for this female absence, the film does suffer because of this.
The cinematography is fantastic, some shots are just beautiful. Renton sitting in the kitchen with his dad with his shadow falling where his mother would have been sat is genuinely touching. There are many more but I’d be at risk of giving away too much of the story.
Focusing on too many side plots, he story does jump around a lot. From Simons revenge plot and brothel building plans, Spuds life changing battle with drugs, Begbies prison escape (leaves far too many questions by the way!!!) His hate fuelled attack on Renton, his father/son relationship and many other side plots, it all just gets a little messy.
It is, however, rich in nostalgia. The movie is dripping in the originals style. To the clever little freeze frame edits, the constant soundtrack teasing from the original films score, to the well-crafted flashbacks which has todays characters blended into the scenes from the 1996 classic. All these little nods put a great big smile on my face.
It begs the question though….. Does it rely too heavily on the original?
If you haven’t seen the original movie very little will make much sense and it will drastically reduce your enjoyment of the film. T2 is like a love letter to the original and no way can it stand on its own two feet. The story just isn’t strong enough. It’s very much a character driven film and without the invested emotional attachment viewers will have built over the original, they simply wouldn’t care enough. As much as I love the original, eventually the constant referring back to the characters past became a little unnecessary, and intrusive.
I cant complete this review without mentioning Renton’s Choose Life monologue. One of the greatest rants of the 90’s returns and its almost as fabulous, if not a little shoehorned in. I couldn’t help but get a little giddy over it as he rambled on through. Brilliant!
Overall it’s a great, they’ll no doubt be plenty who will scream “Its not as good as the first” but this is a story that exists to compliment the original and if Danny Boyle’s intention was to make these particular fans happy he’s been successful in that regard.