T2 Trainspotting: Review

I don’t normally go and see films immediately after their release. Rarely do I feel such anticipation that I can’t make myself wait for a week or two, and avoid the masses (ain’t nothing wrong with the masses, I just don’t like the smell of popcorn in the morning). However, I made an exception for T2: the sequel to Trainspotting. Because Trainspotting. Need I say more?

Trainspotting and I have a bit of a history. I might be bragging a bit here, but I dare say I’m one of the few people who’s actually managed to read the book (yes, there was a book). Which is no mean feat, given that the book is written in Scottish. It took me several attempts and I agree that the film is easier to follow. However, I still plug the book wherever I can: it offers more of the things that made the film so enjoyable. While the film has the added bonus of a great soundtrack, it remains a condensed version of the book, and the struggle to comprehend the novel is well worth the effort.

Last year Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting and a bunch of other cool books, appeared at the Norwich and Norfolk Festival and naturally I was present too. While the real reason for Welsh’s visit was his latest novel – which, again, is good – he also briefly discussed the new film he was involved with. A sequel to Trainspotting sounded intriguing, for sure, especially since the original cast had agreed to return.

That said, I was sceptical too, like many others. Sometimes sequels destroy whatever made the original great in the first place and feel like nothing but a tired effort to make a bit more dough. I was worried T2 would be just that: a disappointment. Although some critics do believe that the film should have been left unmade, I beg to differ. It has a great soundtrack. It cleverly addresses the cult status of its predecessor. It makes some pretty smart statements about the society we live in. And the acting, as was the case in the original, is ace.

The only thing I was less enthusiastic about, though I understand why the script ended up as it is, is that the film has little to do with Welsh’s novels. Before its release, rumour had it that T2 would be based on Porno, one of Welsh’s lesser-known novels which explores the same narrative universe as his big hit. I was kind of looking forward to that: Porno is a ridiculous, funny, and disturbing read. Get thee to thy local bookstore and get thee a copy right now. But T2 is not Porno. It borrows some elements from Porno, but it’s not a film adaption. Just saying.

If anything, I hope the new film will inspire people to check out Welsh’s books and actually read them. He’s a lovely guy, his books are awesome, and they don’t deserve to be overshadowed by the colossi that the films have become. Go on, go and buy, read or steal Porno, and see why I never dared to read it on a bus…

 

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