The skagboys are back in town, and this time their drug of choice is not heroin, but nostalgia. Tackling sequel Porno, John Hodge delivers an intelligent adaptation that could have perhaps used some more invention. It’s a joy to be back with these characters again, but their individual journeys offer little to feast on as we wait for the explosive reunion.
The four leads – Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner and Robert Carlyle – are superb, slipping right back under the skins of their characters as if they’d never been gone.
Bremner – or more accurately his face – steals the show, his elastic features winning laughs on their own. His performance is equally strong, burdened by both misery and hope. Carlyle is another highlight as the untamed volcano that is “Franco” Begbie, his rage undimmed by years in prison.
The final ingredient is of course Boyle himself. His style is as energetic and brazen as it was 20 years ago, but he’s developed more chutzpah and skill in the editing of his films. He punches freeze frames into his fight scenes, brilliantly spotlighting moments of violence. He drops his camera into disconcerting places, offering dutch angles and split perspectives that warp the film’s world. He also swings and misses when trying to find the film’s tone.
Trainspotting summoned a rebellious attitude best described as: “We’re fucked and we don’t care”. Here, Boyle’s instinct to undercut tragedy and tension with moments of humour leave the overall impact diminished. Each is successful in its own way, but they don’t quite gel.
T2 is a return journey worth taking, but it’s a nostalgia trip without a destination. Trainspotting offered a vicarious dive into the minds of junkies; T2 offers little more than a tamer return to the same dysfunctional family.
CAST: Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle, Anjela Nedyalkova, Kelly Macdonald
DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle
WRITERS: John Hodge (screenplay), Irvine Welsh (novel)
SYNOPSIS: The junky antiheroes of Trainspotting return for a bleak and twisted mid-life crisis.