First, there’s opportunity, then there’s betrayal. Watch history repeat itself, a different time, a different circumstance, much has changed, but much has also stayed the same. Nostalgia runs parallel with modernity, our favourite cult characters trapped somewhere in between. The film sees Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie running to catch up with a world that has left them behind. It’s a desperate cling to the past, in the face of the world’s ever-changing nature, voiced perfectly in the era defining monologue, this time with an updated twist.
The film has managed to hold onto the punchy energy of the first; its style and soul however incorporates a new, melancholic twist, addressing an equally profound subject matter, which proves evident today: the characters don’t fulfil the lives they had once imagined. The position of middle-aged men that they all find themselves serves to highlight “where it all went wrong”: they put their hopes and dreams on the money Renton ran off from London with; they never let it go.
Revenge. Jealousy. Desperation for something else. Not knowing where to find that something else – a reflection of political movements, both right wing and left wing, that left them all behind. The world is like a train, it moves on, but not everyone jumps on board.
So be addicted, just to something else. Renton runs around Arthur’s seat, dragging Spud with him, emphasising the dichotomy of drug abuse: either on or off, black or white, high or unparalleled low. Boyle captures fluently that there is so much in between: the reasoning; the choices; the characters’ regrets and hopes; wishing things were different; hoping that their kids have better opportunities. T2, a second take on the iconic story of friendship, betrayal and the carelessness of youth, looks back from a position two decades later.
Spud, the character easiest to warm to, channels his confusion and dissatisfaction; he writes it down, the stories, the moments, the emotion articulated perfectly – quintessentially intelligent and reflective of the times, both now and then, and above all, a way of putting to bed the burden of their nostalgia.
The music reflects the darker tone addressed, and Boyle pulls more than just a sequel out of the bag: T2 is a film that plays slyly on the first, serving to highlight and celebrate itsindisputable success. Choose your future. Choose life.
Image: Gordon Correll