Danny Boyle once again shows how poignant a film he can make at the helm of the Trainspotting sequel.
Mark Renton returns, after 20 years, to his hometown at a pivotal time in his life in order to reconnect with some old friends whilst simultaneously tapping in to a sense of nostalgia he has long since left behind. But the friends he returns to have their own agendas and quickly they become entangled in each other’s drug addled, criminal web. However, as much as the film is about these four characters, it’s also about something far larger and arguably far more important. T2 spends a lot of it’s time reflecting on the struggles of an older generation, and their constant attempts to stay in touch with and relevant to a world that is quickly leaving them behind.
One of the many ways the film does this is by further exploring the difficult upbringings that brought Renton and his peers to where they are now, but it does this whilst villainising the choices they make. Every character strikes a perfect balance in various shades of grey; they’re criminals and bastards yet incredibly endearing at the same time. It’s clear that they are trying to do the best for those around them, but we watch as they tumble further in to the addictions which have already consumed them.
The film tells this story of addiction as much through its composition as it does its script. It’s visual presentation is deliberately inconsistent, where one frame is Dutch angled and shaky the next might be aggressively cut but floaty at the same time. It’s obvious that the visuals are a reflection of the sporadic personalities being portrayed. The cinematography is another example of the films incredible sense of balance as each scene is often a juxtaposition to the last, for example day time is often seen as pastel and washed out where midnight is lively and vibrant. It’s a struggle between the natural and the artificial, the healthy and addiction.
Music plays as vital a role in this film as the visuals do and Boyle further demonstrates his care and love for a good soundtrack. From start to finish a wide variety of licensed tracks move and blend smoothly in to one and other, perfectly highlighting the mood of a scene or a character. What’s exceptional about the soundtrack of the film is that it only overwhelms a scene or a mood when Boyle clearly intends it to, despite the intensity of the music used. It’s a further example of Trainspotting’s exceptional sense of balance, of Boyle demonstrating the running sense of Dichotomy in far more than just the film’s script.
T2 Trainspotting is a film released at the perfect time, a consideration of nature versus nurture from the perspective of a criminal drug addict. The film’s entire construction is used to make the audience consider the characters, their generation and their story. At times it’s an overwhelming feast for the senses, but only when it needs to be. Trainspotting is a perfect example of a film constructed with balance and, whilst it’s not perfect, it’s likely to stay with its audiences long after the credits role.
T2 Trainspotting scored: 9.2/10