‘Trainspotting’ returns after 21 years with punchy sequel


EDINBURGH, JAN 22 – It was the shocking, surreal, drug-fuelled movie that defined a generation. Two decades later, the ageing Scottish lowlifes of “Trainspotting” are back with a new sequel which premieres Sunday in Edinburgh.“T2: Trainspotting” reunites Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller and Ewen Bremner with now Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle.Renton, the character that launched the career of “Star Wars” actor McGregor, returns to Edinburgh after years away — and his friends Begbie, Sick Boy and Spud are waiting, as dysfunctional as ever.Expectations are high after the first film, which was made for just $3 million in 1996, won critical acclaim and grossed over $70 million worldwide.

Reviews so far have been largely positive — The Guardian said it was not as good as the first, but “has the same punchy energy, the same defiant pessimism, and there’s nothing around like it”.

Sick Boy (Miller) is a pimp exploiting the wave of gentrification that has swept the city, psycho Begbie (Carlyle) is an escaped convict and burglar, and Spud (Bremer) is still “on the skag”.

Heroin has been relegated to a bit-part behind cocaine and Viagra, Begbie is even more foul-mouthed and menacing than ever, and there are plenty more gut-wrenching gross out scenes to match Spud’s breakfast table surprise in the first movie.

There are references throughout to the first movie, including to its hugely successful soundtrack with a remix of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life”.

Will it appeal to new audiences? “Impossible to judge,” Boyle told the Sunday Times newspaper.

“T2” is about betrayal and reconciliation, both in front and behind the camera.

In “Trainspotting”, Renton ditched his friends and ran off to Amsterdam with the takings of a big drug deal.

Boyle and McGregor, who worked together on “Shallow Grave” and “A Life Less Ordinary”, also fell out after the director cast Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Beach”.

Edinburgh is more of a character in “T2” than in the first movie, which was mostly shot in Glasgow despite being set in the once heroin-blighted suburb of Leith.

While beautiful, the city has a dark side — prostitution is illegal but rarely prosecuted, housebreaking is twice the national average, and drug-related deaths are amongst the highest in Scotland and rising.