Trainspotting debuted in 1996, directed Danny Boyle. Based on the Irvine Welsh novel of the same name, the film followed a group of friends and heroin addicts trapped in the Edinburgh drug scene and the challenges each faces to stay in - or get out. It was a gritty, brutal, and bleakly funny film, and it launched the career of Ewan McGregor.
Flash forward twenty years later, and T2 Trainspotting brings the original cast back together under Boyle’s direction. Renton, Spud, Sick Boy, and Begbie are 20 years older but not necessarily wiser.
Film contributor Dave Luhrssen says that although T2 may be middle-aged, it is by no means any less relevant. "What I find really interesting among other things about the Trainspotting story and the sequel is how local yet how universal it is."
Following the journey of Mark (played by Ewan McGregor) upon his return to Scotland, Luhrssen says the sequel is not a redundant look at nostalgia, but "a movie that is a bit more about reflecting on one's past."
He also notes that the fact that these characters have survived through difficult situations adds a greater dynamic to the story. "You are aware of the value of life and survival, the value of trying to establish or reestablish friendships and connections," Luhrssen says. "So I think that these characters carry a lot more weight 20 years on than they did in the original film."
T2 Trainspotting is a rare example of a sequel that is better than its original, he says. "It's a very funny movie, a very meaningful movie, and one that's not afraid - not unlike the first movie - of smashing stereotypes, demolishing cliches, and running rough shot over social or political correctness of any kind."
T2 is now streaming on Amazon Video and iTunes and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 27th.