T2 Trainspotting: All aboard for long-delayed trip to mid-90s nostalgia
CHOOSE life with nae regrets. Choose to belatedly revisit one of the defining films of the mid-1990s, which shoved a dirty needle into the arm of Cool Britannia and stuck up two fingers to the notion that successful homegrown films could only be pristine period dramas or feel-good romantic comedies.
Choose the holy film-making trinity of director Danny Boyle, screenwriter John Hodge and producer Andrew Macdonald, who induced that intoxicating rush of blood to the head 21 years ago. Choose a narrative joint rolled from Irvine Welsh's novel Trainspotting and the sequel Porno, cut with whirling camerawork that propels embittered characters down a new rabbit hole of nihilistic desire.
Choose the reunion of a predominantly Scottish cast on location in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Choose vivid visual flourishes, projections, shadows and hallucinogenic flashbacks to realise each surrender to the siren song of addiction.
Choose another achingly hip and unabashedly retro soundtrack under the influence of award-winning Edinburgh band Young Fathers, Wolf Alice, Underworld and Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
Choose a multi-faceted portrait of modern masculinity – fathers estranged from children, impotent husbands, friends torn apart by betrayal – to sow the seeds of anguish and reminiscence. Choose a flabby-bellied two hours rather than a lean 93 minutes of the original to follow Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) as he returns home to beg forgiveness from Spud (Ewen Bremner).
Choose revenge, the poison coursing through the veins of reluctant publican Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) when he discovers Renton is back in town. Choose seething rage, which drips from the tongue of psychotic jailbird Begbie (Robert Carlyle) as he finally glimpses life without bars.
Choose a detour to the familiar breathtaking vista of Corrour rail station, framed by the rounded hill of Beinn na Lap, to pay tribute to those left behind. Choose flashes of brilliance – a darkly humorous explosion of bodily fluids, a funding pitch that describes a sauna as "an artisanal bed and breakfast experience" – punctuated by cute visual nods to the first film.
Choose Spud as the trembling, emotional core, willing him to succeed as he struggles to sever ties to heroin and discover self-worth.
Choose a head-on collision of solemn memorial and wistful nostalgia, stoked by the words of Sick Boy's Bulgarian girlfriend, Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova): "Where I come from, the past is something you forget. Here, it's all you talk about."
Choose the sinking realisation that the giddy high of the first time you watched Trainspotting – that breathless sprint down Princes Street to Iggy Pop's Lust For Life, the headfirst plunge into the worst toilet in Scotland, the needle drop of Underworld's Born Slippy – isn't going to be replicated.
Choose to stop being a tourist in the rose-tinted glow of that glorious past that became a cultural phenomenon. Choose T2 Trainspotting, with reservation.
T2 TRAINSPOTTING (18, 117 mins) Drama/Comedy/Romance. Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Anjela Nedyalkova, Scot Greenan. Director: Danny Boyle