Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewan Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Steve Robertson, Shirley Henderson, Kelly McDonald, Gordon Kennedy, Anjela Nedyalkova, James Cosmo, Katie Leung, Thierry Mabonga, Scot Greenan, Irvine Welsh, Pauline Turner, Eileen Nicholas, Kyle Fitzpatrick.
In the history of British cinema there are few films that invoke so much sense of defining eras as Trainspotting and now its subsequent sequel T2 Trainspotting. Take away the period in which Britain was at war against Nazi Germany and the amount of propaganda induced films on offer, propaganda on the right side of history, as anything to defeat such an evil was always going to be used in such a way, and the kitchen sink dramas, the angry young men films of the 50s and 60s, it is to be argued that the two Trainspotting films have and will leave an indelible mark on the period and have many questioning in years to come, exactly what Britain’s identity was.
It is not a pleasant thought but one of sheer honesty that makes T2 Trainspotting so perfect, aside from the fantastic cast, the four main characters acting together in such a way that they exude madness that is so brilliant it forces you to breathe a little deeper and below the smog of acting intelligence that is wafting around, a script that delves deep into the psyche of modern times, the alienation, the guilt, the despair and all wrapped up in the smile of fresh beginnings. It is in the vision of wherever you go now, gentrification is modern way, the fact that it leaves so many still disenfranchised with life, is not the point of the project to those with money invested.
To capture Time, one doesn’t need a bottle, one doesn’t require a machine, one just needs the right words and the defining actions of a nation; it worked perfectly for Shakespeare in his historical musings, it certainly works for Danny Boyle and the team behind this film.
Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewan Bremner and Jonny Lee Miller are perfect in their roles, the spirit of two decades past still shining like the waters of The Forth at Dawn or the stonework of Edinburgh Castle on a blistering hot August day as the hopes of struggling artists reflect the festival atmosphere. The way the film frames with such dynamic sentiment of how they came to be in such a place, the chance meetings signifying their friendships from school to the choice of Heroin and violent alcohol use is both heartening as a cinema lover but also full of despair that in the end, like some of the old forgotten crumbling edifice’s of Edinburgh, it is only memory that keeps it alive.
A fantastic film, relentless in its delivery, poised violence throughout but one that captures modern Britain’s lack of moral vision, of its two faced, bare faced hypocrisy, of displacement and anger; T2 Trainspotting is the film we have all waited for, whether we knew it or not.
Ian D. Hall