WARNING: SPOILERS ALERT
The shots, cuts and camera angles used in T2 reflect the style and tone of Trainspotting (1996). Paired with a gritty soundtrack that ranges from classics-remixed or toned down- from Trainspotting and contemporary music, the film exudes in its technique the theme of T2; nostalgia and coming to terms with your past.
Returning to Edinburgh, Renton decides to make amends and pay back his friends whom he betrayed twenty years ago (except Begbie, who he avoids at all costs). What he finds is Sick Boy and Spud doing exactly what they were doing when he left, and Begbie still in prison (soon to break free).
T2 follows Renton and the crew ‘getting together’ one last time in an epic junkie battle of revenge and heart wrenching flashbacks of adolescent beginnings. Emphasizing on nostalgia for a past that has died and gone to junkie heaven, T2 artistically echoes key moments that made Trainspotting unforgettable; ‘Choose Life’ speeches, Renton colliding with vehicles, Begbie and his love for violence, Spud as the loved and innocent junkie of the crew and Sick Boy (Simon) still working as a con artist and thief. Although it echoes similar actions in Trainspotting, it does not feel like T2 is copying these actions in an attempt to ride the waves of what made it popular in the first place. The repeated or similar actions feel like they stand on their own, echoing maybe the message that sometimes you are always doomed to repeat yourself.
What is added to the mix is the role of Veronica, a young twenty something whose expertise in sex and her partnership (girlfriend?) with Sick Boy puts her at the center of an old man dog fight over events that probably happened when she was just a toddler. Veronica in the book Porno (by Irvine Welsh, and sequel to Trainspotting) has more parts and prevalence as a sex worker who later works for Sick Boy in his venture of creating Pornographic films above his bar. These parts are changed and toned down in the movie T2 and Veronica is portrayed as a possibly more ‘clean’ woman to audiences but in the end she does exactly what she does in Porno; taking the torch from the generation before her of “First there is opportunity, then there is Betrayal.”(imdb.com). I think by toning down Veronica in T2 Danny Boyle may have taken into consideration just how much grit and slime audiences can take (creating an R-Rated film versus a neon flashing NC-17).
Although I was curious from the instant I heard about T2 and after reading the book Porno just how much of book would be in T2, I am satisfied with this cookie cutter version which is easier to swallow for most, although I definitely craved more of the book in the end.
Overall, T2 holds true to Trainspotting as an art device used for social critique and exposure of the disgusting but often real underbelly of modern life (a predominant trait of Irvine Welsh’s works). With added references and use of today’s technology and comments on how ‘conning’ can’t be done like how it used to be, T2 shows the evolution of addiction, lies, and thievery in our present day in a heart-wrenching story of opportunity and betrayal among best friends.
I could write more on T2 and go into depth on certain key scenes/aspects that stood out to me but I will have to think about this. I do plan on seeing T2 again and in the theatre so I can enjoy the big screen experience and if after watching it for a second time I do decide to do another reflection I will post one, probably longer (long long read) and in a couple of weeks.
If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing. I hope you return in the future!