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T2 Trainspotting 2 Review: The Cast Brilliantly Revives The Legendary Characters

T2: TRAINSPOTTING

Title: T2 Trainspotting 2
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald.

The sequel to Danny Boyle’s 1996 ‘Trainspotting’ (based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh) stars the original ensemble cast (Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald) more than two decades later.

T2 Trainspotting’ is deliberately self-referential, with film-clips, music and echoes from the first film, as we see Mark Renton returning to Scotland and reuniting with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie. Revisiting such an iconic flick was a rather perilous enterprise, having to live up with the expectations of equalling, if not surpassing, a classic of popular culture. ‘Trainspotting’ created a new language in motion pictures, and even though ‘T2’ maintains that surprising and whirl-winding storytelling, it is merely looking back on the good old days.

Whilst the first film was an ode to the decadent chemical generation, ‘T2’ reunites the reckless protagonists twenty years later, almost to ascertain that people turn out to be, in adulthood, just the way they were during the age of innocence. Boyle’s sequel presents a group of lost souls who are still absorbed by drugs, no longer for the delight of youthful abandon, but for a lack of stamina. They narcotise their lives instead of confronting their issues and making an efficacious change.

The cast brilliantly revives the legendary ‘Trainspotting’ characters, portraying their involution: they matured just in age, not in wisdom. The trip down memory lane is so melancholic and outdated that this sequel feels uncalled-for except for one thing: depict the baggage of life’s longings.

Nostalgia is the new addiction. As one of the characters says to Renton “You’re a tourist in your own youth.” The cast brilliantly portrays this sense of Sehnsucht. The German term fully captures the lingering illness lived by Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie, who approach middle age. Their thoughts and feelings, about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect, intertwine with a yearning for ideal alternative experiences. Their individual search for happiness failed, and they find themselves coping with the reality of unattainable wishes.

Technical: B-
Acting: B+
Story: B-
Overall: B
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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