Quick Thoughts: T2 Trainspotting (2017)
Two decades after Mark Renton betrays his friends and flies abroad, he returns home to not-so-open arms.
Just like you, just like everyone, I love the original Trainspotting. I was apprehensive about going to see this one, but finally got around to it. Long story short, I’m happy I saw it and maybe will see again sometime.
The biggest problem with Trainspotting, to me, was certainly Boyle’s direction. His use of the camera was intermittently excellent, with crisp and articulate cinematic language. But, for a lot of the film, especially in the first half, the constant attempt towards style is pretty agitating as there is no real sense that this style naturally comes from this story, nor Boyle; it only seems vapid and over-constructed. Moreover, the play with angles and camera movement is over-zealous and often unmotivated, reducing many sequences to a high-budget music video (and the sound track is pretty bad – in fact almost all elements of attached to music are sub-par). The same tone can be shifted over to an analysis of the aesthetic design (lighting, colour pallet). This is a somewhat ugly movie that dexterously captures the flat, textureless and plain tone of so-so digital cinematography very well, sometimes leaving T2 with a near TV-look – one that is not supported by the incorporation of varying media (phones and TV).
With that said, the story takes some time to settle, but is highly immersive – especially when the camera stops drawing attention to the artifice of the narrative. There are a few plot holes and weak plot beats when the action amps up, but these are often overshadowed by the character-centric adventure that we are taken on, one that is far more muted than the original, but certainly riveting. What’s more, the characters are all written and performed perfectly – and this is, by far, the strongest element of this narrative, moreover, justification enough for this sequel.
Capping all of this off is a pretty compelling extension of the original’s narrative message; that being an advocation of a form of acceptance in face of life’s absurd calamities – in T2’s case – mundanities too. Whilst the use of flashbacks to the original, however creative, sometimes make this a little cheesy, this idea resounds through T2 strongly.
All in all, I wasn’t expecting this to be better than, or even as good as, the original – and it isn’t – but that’s ok. I love the fact that many of these characters were reprised and that I got to dive into this world once again.
P.S. The puke in a bag joke had me laughing like an idiot, but, the “choose” rant was, unfortunately, underwhelming.
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