Monday, 13 February 2017

Review: T2 Trainspotting (second-pass)

T2 Trainspotting (second-pass)
Cert: 18 / 117 mins / Dir. Danny Boyle / Trailer

"The world changes, eh? Even if we don't…"
~ Francis Begbie, T2.

It's always good when you can get a new experience from re-watching a film, and T2 Trainspotting is a fine example. After not knowing what to expect the first time round and being bombarded with the twenty years of catching up that Boyle, Hodge and Welsh throw at the audience, my second-pass was a quieter, even more isolating watch. Not more poignant exactly, but knowing the destination means you can enjoy the journey more and take in the scenery*1.

Away from the attention-grabbing, gurning bromance between Ewan McGregor and Johnny Lee Miller, this is really Robert Carlyle and Ewen Bremner's film. Begbie and Spud are the half of the original gang who actually manage to achieve some level of advancement from everything that occurs. And while I'd initially thought the movie was beating nostalgia with a harsh stick (being a large part of the reason that Renton and Sickboy find themselves caught in the same failing behavioural loops), it became clear that a more focused, objective nostalgia is the very thing which allows Spud to move forward with his life. And while Begbie still has some way to go by the closing credits, his character develops more in those two hours than it has in his previous fifteen years.

Although on the subject of the former two, that the scene in the King William Arms where Renton and Sick Boy improvise a sectarian musical number in the process of robbing and entire pub is excruciating. Utterly masterful and utterly excruciating. An underhanded confidence-trick played once on the page, it's amplified through by the screenplay to become so unfeasible that it somehow just works completely. All the while underlining the character-flaws in everybody on the screen. T2 embodies a pastime which has been made more popular and accessible than ever in the twenty-first century: looking on in gleeful, satisfied awe at the poor decision-making of others, ignoring the quiet voice at the back of your brain reminding you that you're no better.

I can see this movie getting some serious play at my house...

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Trainspotting, pretty much.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
While you still can, yes.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It does.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Maybe not best of everyone involved, but certainly in the top-half of their CV.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Absolutely not.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Obi-Wan Kenobi's in this.
Plus, at the end of the movie there's a kid outside Renton's childhood home playing with a toy lightsaber. A blue one as well, so I think it's safe to assume that's a self-referential easter-egg? I mean it'd be a bit weird for someone to bring that to the set and have it be Anakin's saber, wouldn't it?

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 That said… while I think we'd all agree that Irvine Welsh deserves a repeat appearance in this movie, you'd think that at some point in the last twenty years he'd have taken some acting lessons, no? And while I'm on, in that scene where Spud steps out of the boxing-gym and has a flashback looking down the road, the repeatedly alternating camera-angles make the continuity-gaffe with his sweatshirt (on/off his shoulder) glaringly obvious. And also while I'm on moaning, can someone have a gentle word with Danny Boyle and point out that soundtracking a film by hitting shuffle on your iPod only works if you have good taste in music to begin with? Much like its predecessor, T2's soundtrack features three good tunes and the rest is padded out with bland filler. Ridiculous. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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