T2 Trainspotting: Critics praise film sequel

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Ewan Bremner (left) and Ewan McGregor star in T2 Trainspotting

T2 Trainspotting has received broadly positive reviews from critics, although many noted it will not have the same impact as the original.

The sequel to 1996’s Trainspotting sees most of the original cast reunited with director Danny Boyle.

Kate Muir of The Times said the film was “like riding a tragi-comic wave”.

“The original actors have matured well, and while the lunatic enthusiasm of their youth has disappeared, they give their nuanced all here,” she added.

Based on the Irvine Welsh novel Porno, T2 Trainspotting is set in the present day with the main characters now in middle age.

Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle and Ewen Bremner have all reprised their roles for the new film.

Writing in The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw said: “Reuniting the cast of Trainspotting for a new adventure 21 years on could have gone badly.

“But Boyle and his four musketeers give it just the right frantic, jaded energy and manic anxiety.”

He added that while “T2 isn’t as good as T1”, it “has the same punchy energy, the same defiant pessimism, and there’s nothing around like this”.


Analysis by Neil Smith, BBC entertainment reporter

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Getty Images

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Danny Boyle (far right) directed both the original Trainspotting and the sequel

Boyle’s masterstroke is to tackle the passing of time head-on. Where the characters in the original film were blissfully insouciant about their self-destructive hedonism, they are here all too aware of the cul-de-sacs and dead ends at which they’ve now arrived.

They are, to quote T2’s most striking line, “tourists in their own youth” – a description that applies just as much to the audience member who goes to the film hoping to have the same giddy high they experienced two decades ago.

Overall, is it as good as the original? The answer is no – but it comes pretty darn close.

Read the full review.


However, The Scotsman‘s Alistair Harkness was less positive about the film, awarding it three stars.

“The best that can be said about the new film is that it hasn’t completely tarnished the original,” he wrote.

“Boyle’s frenetic, collage-like directing style gives the film a trying-too-hard feel and even though some of it does jolt T2 to life, the cast doesn’t always have the emotional range to make it cohere.”

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The original cast have reunited for T2 Trainspotting

The Telegraph‘s Robbie Collin also gave the movie three stars.

“There’s no chance of its successor matching that legacy, but it won’t tarnish it either. Though the film feeds on its forerunner, it’s worthwhile on its own terms,” he said.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Neil Young wrote: “T2 never threatens to find its own distinctive voice.”

He also pointed out the female characters “are very much on the sidelines, even more so than in Trainspotting”.

“Kelly MacDonald pops up for a one-scene, two-minute cameo (which nevertheless somehow nabs her fifth billing),” he said.

But the Scottish Daily Record‘s Chris Hunneysett was more positive, calling the film “an addictive hit of pure cinema”.

He said that while it “won’t capture the youthful zeitgeist the way Trainspotting did”, Boyle “has created an unapologetically abrasive tale of longevity, loyalty and friendship”.


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