It’s been one of my most awaited films of 2017 and I’ve been really glad that the sequel to Trainspotting has been one of the first to be featured on the new year’s big screens. It’s been a wonderful, highly anticipated reunion of this Scottish bunch and it’s been truly interesting to see just how far they haven’t come in 20 years.
They’re bad and anti-social, but we love them; Begbie is severely unstable and in desperate need of anger management but he protects his own, Sick Boy might be a little selfish at times, but he’ll be your best friend at heart, Renton can be a bad influence but has the brightest future and Spud is ditsy but the most honest and innocent person you’ll ever know. Not one of them has actually made any vast or noticeable progress but we didn’t really want them to change and, in a way, we’re glad they haven’t.
The trailers did a good job at not explicitly revealing what can be expected of Trainspotting’s next chapter, so my mind has been wide open, and what we’ve received is a realistic transition to the bad boys we’ve grown to love; they’re just as crazy but just as strong and, as always, it’s all about the money as the gateway to drugs. I’d have thought that 20 years would be quite enough time to make your peace with the £4, 000 that slipped through your fingers, but apparently not. Although, I suppose it’s much deeper than just money; it’s about ‘opportunity and betrayal’, as Spud so rightly teaches us; it’s about friendship which didn’t quite turn out how you’d hoped and it’s about the repercussions of that betrayal that nobody can ever take back as well as never knowing whether that £4, 000 would’ve actually made a difference.
It’s quite a mundane storyline, but the realism of it is what maintains our attachment to these guys. The element of nostaligia in the film is not over-powering and so the film remains forward-thinking while remembering the characters’ roots and, even though they’ve all changed so little, it’s heart-warming to see them so natural together, just picking up where they’ve left off. The one component of the sequel which caught me positively off-guard is the new angle taken on Spud’s future as a writer; I feel that Spud is the epitome of bad things happening to good people, and it’s very uplifting to see the film end on such a positive note, amplifying the fact that the boys will always ‘choose life’.