Trainspotting II: Grizzled Old Friends, A Wonderful New Story

This will contain some minor spoilers … 

Time is a commodity best spent wisely, lest you end up like the four protagonists we meet here.

Welcome to one the most keenly awaited sequels ever, the follow up to the smash hit Trainspotting.

Our old friends Renton, Begbie, Sickboy and Spud have not fared well since the last time we saw them.

Renton has lived a better life than the rest – comparatively anyway – having scarpered off to Holland at the end of Trainspotting; he now has a wife and a good job. His only reason for coming home – which he does – is apparently to make amends for the past.

Begbie is in the jail and has been denied parole again, and after his simpering lawyer fails to express enough interest in the hearing, he takes matters into his own hands and makes a bid for freedom, going on the lam to find his wife and son who are less than ecstatic to find Francis back on their doorstep.

Sickboy is running his deceased aunts dilapidated pub and scamming middle class Johns with videos of their encounters with escorts.

Spud hasn’t moved on since the credits rolled on Trainspotting.

He’s still a junkie, he has no relationship with his ex or his now teenage son and lives a hand to mouth existence.

Choosing life has not worked out for Mark; as the movie progresses we find him lost in a sea of his own life choices and at a critical crossroad in time.

The resumption of his friendship with Sickboy, coming after a hostile re-introduction, seems to be at odds with the idyllic life he has at home in Holland.

A scene in an orange lodge brings many laughs, it also shows that Mark has missed the lifestyle and trappings of being a junkie, that adrenaline fueled existence of not knowing what is round the next corner after one too many dodgy decisions.

A forced encounter with Kelly MacDonald’s Diane is all too short as she is still a shining diamond of the Scottish acting scene.

Almost imperceptibly the movie, three-quarters of the way through, shifts its focus to Veronika and Spud.

Veronika is Sickboy’s girlfriend and partner in the scamming trade, a future madame in the brothel he intends to build, but she has loftier goals and in Spud she sees a way to attain them.

Renton recognises early that Spud needs an addiction other than heroin and urges him to find it, after a comical flirtation with boxing and a subsequent reminiscence of times gone by he hits on what may be his way out, and this is what pushes the plot of the last third of the movie along with Begbie’s inevitable stalking of Renton.

Begbie is consumed by thoughts of revenge, blaming Mark for everything that happened in the last twenty years.

His sole focus is finding him and exacting his own justice.

A sub-plot involving Begbie’s relationship with his son brings more meaning to why he has so much unrequited rage within.

When Renton and Begbie do finally meet (once again toilets figure prominently in Trainspotting lore) it is a scene of comedy gold, the screening I was at had people on the edge of their seats and a cacophonous roar of laughter built as it reached its climax.

As is repeated often in the movie, first there is opportunity then there is betrayal and as I said at the start it all comes down to time and how you spend it.

Spend it unwisely and you may end up with debts on your soul you may not be able to repay.

There are moments of hilarity, sadness, high originality, deep pathos and beautiful film making.

In the twenty years since Trainspotting was released I find it hard to think of another sequel with such panache and verve and respect for the original movie than this.

It is deserving of the very highest praise.

If you like the work this site does and want to support it, please share these articles on social media. If you want to help us meet running costs you can make a donation at the Paypal link below. 

Mr Brown

A stunted author in need of a dictionary.

mr-brown has 2 posts and counting.See all posts by mr-brown

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: