The 90´s. A time where i spend my youth, discovering a lot of really good British music, and also watched a lot of British VHS films. For many different reasons, i was drawn to films made in England, Ireland and Scotland, perhaps because i loved the realistic feeling of many great raw drama films. You get to see the true society, far away from the Hollywood stereotypical image. Director Ken Loach proved to be one of those directors that tried to give us realistic stories, with very important issues. One film i can still remember from early 90´s, is of course The Commitments by director Alan Parker. This is a very funny film, with some really good music, but also very realistic characters. In this film we get to follow a band on Ireland, trying to break through on the music scene. If you have not seen The Commitments, you need to see it. It is one of those 90´s classics, that will always entertain people of all ages. Speaking of the 90´s, i suggest we go in to the year of 1996. One Scottish film was about to change the world, in a very brutal and messy way, and that film is of course Trainspotting. I remember when i saw the film in Sweden for the first time. It was very different, vulgar, raw, mind blowing, and did not look like any film at that time. Trainspotting proved to be one of the most powerful films released in the 90´s, because the characters were so insane, you could not stop watching them. Director Danny Boyle proved to be one of the best British directors with this film, and i still see this film to be one of the greatest classics of the 90´s. Ewan McGregor in the lead role as Mark Renton is simply brilliant, and i just love Robert Carlyle as Francis. The story of heroin addicts insane life style is fast, rough, dirty, and looks outstanding from a cinematography perspective. I actually walked on the streets where they filmed Trainspotting in Edinburgh, and i remember how cool it was to walk on the same location. When there were discussions about making a sequel to Trainspotting, i was very skeptical. How do you make a sequel to such an incredible film, is it even possible to do one ? After many years with different twists and turns, director Danny Boyle finally decided it was time to bring back the gang from the original film, 20 years later. I was supposed to see this film in cinemas in spring time this year, but that never happened. So i got a chance to watch the UK blu ray release instead. Is this a really good sequel to the classic film, or is this a sequel that never should have been made at all ?
20 years have passed, and Mark " Rent Boy " Renton, who stole 16.000 pounds, ( Ewan McGregor ) have been living in Amsterdam with his wife. After Mark goes through a divorce, is now homeless and diagnosed with ACS, he decides to go back to Edinburgh. Daniel " Spud " Murphy ( Ewen Bremner ), is still an heroin addict who have lost his job, while his girlfriend Gail ( Shirley Henderson ) end their relationship. Simon " Sick Boy "Williamson ( Jonny Lee Miller ) is addicted to cocaine, run a pub, and also engages in blakckmail schemes with his Bulgarian dominatrix girlfriend Veronika ( Anjela Nedyalkova ). Francis " Franco " Begbie ( Robert Carlyle ) is serving a 25 years sentence and is denied parole, because of his violent temper. Mark goes back to his childhood home, where his father tells him about his mother´s death. Mark decides to go visit Spud, and finds Spud trying to kill himself. He survives, but is not happy to see Mark back in town again. But Spud change his mind, when he sees that Mark is trying to help Spud with his drug addiction. Mark also visits Simon at his bar. Simon is not happy to see Mark back again, but they eventually get along. Francis escapes from prison, to go see his son, and make sure he goes on a crime wave with his father. Mark, Simon and Veronika also have some criminal plans ahead of themselves. Is there no way out of their addictions, or will they forever be stuck in the criminal world ?
Knowing this is a sequel to an amazing classic, you have to demand a lot for this sequel to work. You need to find a connection to the first film, or at least make the film work as a worthy sequel. Trainspotting 2 does have some positive surprises to bring us. The original cast is here ( almost all of them, and that is fantastic ), and you do get to see them going insane as they did in their younger days. This sequel do continue their story in a much more deeper way than in the first film, and i think that is a good choice. They are older and can´t be the same as they were back then. Don´t worry though, there are some crazy scenes where you will recognize the style of Trainspotting, so director Danny Boyle knew he could not take too many risks. The acting is really good, and to see the cast return with more powerful performances really help Trainspotting 2 become a solid film. How do you handle society in present day, when all you know is how to be a criminal from the past ? Is it possible that you can find a normal life, or are you doomed to be an addict for the rest of your life ? Trainspotting 2 tries to get the pieces together, of how these characters can unite again and find their way in this world. Danny Doyle knows how to use the city of Edinburgh, connecting the past with present day. And with a very strong story, with very intensive acting, Trainspotting 2 manage to be a sequel that feels right on time. Ewan McGregor, Ewan Bremner, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Miller and Kelly Macdonald all manage to bring back their characters, in the right possible way. It is interesting that especially the character Spud get a lot of screen time here, he clearly is a very unstable drug addict. Ewan Bremmer really nails his performance as Spud, and his personality is not in any good condition. Usually when film makers make a sequel, they try to either follow the same path as the first film, or try a different path. Director Danny Boyle does exactly the right thing, and try to avoid the usual sequel traps. Is this film as good as the original film ? No, but i still think Trainspotting 2 is one hell of a fun ride, and matches on many levels to be a worthy sequel. It is nice to return 20 years later, and see this gang all together again, and still have a hell of a good time. Trainspotting 2 should be seen if you loved the first film, i have a feeling you will be surprised how good this sequel is. I feel like going back to Scotland again after watching this film, to get my Trainspotting vibes back on track. This is a must see on dvd, or blu ray this summer. Well done Danny Boyle, i am so happy you brought back these Scottish maniacs back to us.