T2 Trainspotting review roundup: Will Danny Boyle have the same impact this time?
It has been 21 years since Trainspotting intrigued audiences with its blend of bromance, drugs and the whimsical sense of humour that director Danny Boyle brings to him.
Now we catch up with Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) 20 years after the events of the first film. While the first film was a brilliant snapshot of contemporary Britain, will the sequel hold upto the cult status of the original?
Guy Lodge, the critic for Variety writes, "Where Trainspotting's dive into the void was targeted, bristling with snarky anger at a Conservative system that provided few lifelines, T2 — despite landing in a Britain once more under divisive Tory rule — is mostly content to let its characters alternately indulge and excoriate themselves. So we tipsily gad about with them through a succession of chase sequences, luridly lit drug trips and, in one nod to quintessentially British farce, a naked dash in the countryside."
Empire's Ian Freer says, "In some senses T2 shares elements with its Terminator namesake. It’s inventive and full of surprises. But unlike Cameron’s sequel, it doesn’t reimagine the original in quite the same glorious way."
The New York Times says, "This time, though, their purpose is more poignant. Playing with memory — the characters' and our own — allows Mr. Boyle and his cinematographer, Anthony Dod Mantle, to conjure some of the movie’s loveliest, most melancholy images: the smudged shape of Renton’s dead mother sitting at her kitchen table; Spud detoxing on the floor of his crummy apartment, his anguished shadow looming, Nosferatu-like, above him."
Here's what the critics said about the cast:
Lodge also wasn't quite impressed with Ewan McGregor's performance. He writes in the same review for Variety: "A cruising McGregor looks palpably less hungry and more polished than his co-stars in a way that sets the film quite appropriately off-balance, as it ponders the diverging fates of these perennially muddled men."
David Edelstein, the critic for Vulture, doesn't think much about director Danny Boyle.
He writes, "T2 Trainspotting would be even richer, though, with more and older women. Anjela Nedyalkova has charm and breezy timing as the young Bulgarian woman who counts on being the madam of Simon’s bordello, but she’s largely there as eye candy. The female Trainspotting characters are seen only in passing, Shirley Henderson barely at all, Kelly Macdonald in a delightful scene that’s over way too quickly. There’s a larger point to this: that the girls have moved on while the boys are desperate to remain boys. It would be better, though, if that didn’t apply to the director as well."
The Atlantic, however, was all praise for the film. Their critic writes, "Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge have lost none of their eye for style or ear for dialogue. And the cast inhabits their long-ago roles as if they’d never taken them off. The result is a film nowhere near as revelatory as Trainspotting, but in some ways more satisfying, the proper closing of a tale that had been left open-ended."