Trainspotting 2 (I simply refuse to refer to this film as T2 as there is only ONE T2) works way better than I ever expected. I am very wary of long-lead sequels, especially sequels to masterworks, so this one had a lot to prove. The story is really good, the performances are all excellent, it’s beautifully photographed by Anthony Dod Mantle, and director Danny Boyle again proves that cinema is part of his DNA; I really love him as a filmmaker.
The narrative has more of a reason to exist than I could have imagined, with everything feeling organic enough as to make contextual sense. And while certainly nowhere near as impactful as the first effort (but how could it have been?), it’s an extremely entertaining film that reignites old characters in ways that could have felt forced or unnecessary but never does thanks to the conviction of the script and the heart it shows for the various characters.
Sequels, as a rule, are typically designed with one thing in mind: To make money. And with this one, that never feels like it was the guiding motivation, as Boyle is too smart for that, and given that he could make nearly anything that he wants, I’m glad he brought back the gang for one more wild round of debauchery. John Hodge’s script is sharp, funny, and perceptive of where these characters would realistically be at this point in their manic lives. This most definitely wasn’t a “safe-bet.”
Review by Nick Clement