T2 Trainspotting (Out of Competition / United Kingdom / Director: Danny Boyle)
„You’re a tourist to your youth“, Simon says to Mark at one point during this sequel to Danny Boyle’s early 1990s cult classic, accusing his former best friend of nostalgia. The trouble is: The same accusation could be made against the film. Sure, the gang of more or less deranged characters is back, so are the fast edits, psychedelic visual effects and pumping music. Gone, however, is the youth culture this once tied into. That’s forgiveable, after all, the four (ex-)junkies are all in their mid-forties now. But what to replace it with? Nostalgia, mainly. T2 Trainspotting is full of archival footage, aimed at contrasting the then and now. Which is hard if the story seems like a rather lazy rehashing of the key elements of original plot. At its end, Mark (Ewan McGregor) left his friend with the money from a heist. This time there, obviously, is revenge, more drugs and more betrayal. The characters have grown but not grown up, yet, obviously the original sarcasm cannot stand. After all, at their age, this is the last chance. So, in the end we get a sense of, if not redemption, then at least lessons learned and doors opening. This makes the once hip aesthetics seem as out-of-place as the characters and the strained action sequences and stale dramatics. It would be one thing to show the old boys pathetically trying to be back at their game – it is quite another for Danny Boyle to do this. Sure, the characters are strong enough to make the original film’s fans glad to see them again, yes, there’s plenty of hilarious humour, yes, there are nice allusions to age, its demands, its price, its ridiculousness. Substance, however, there is much less.
T2 Trainspotting (Image: © Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH)