Sunday, February 05, 2017

T2 - nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Last year we saw the Stone Roses, New Order and James at emotional and celebratory events held in cathedrals of praise to the god's of our past. Last night I indulged in more of the same with a swim through the messy memories of the last twenty years since Trainspotting hit the screen.

Danny Boyle has a sure touch for what's current and able to make an emotional connection with his audience. That Olympic opening ceremony captured it beautifully. So it's no exaggeration to say the whole exercise of T2, aimed at the right here and right now, is far more than moving the story of Edinburgh junkies along.

It's a film full of Easter "Road" Eggs - knowing references and in-jokes - Hibs shirts, posters and references are in virtually every scene, as are constant flashbacks, references and retellings of the original story, so much so that one of our lads who hadn't seen Trainspotting found it incomprehensible at times. Also, Edinburgh as a changed city plays a far more prominent role than the more claustrophobic environment portrayed in the original. It's a casual but important acknowledgement that you notice the world beyond your immediate gaze as your own mortality hits mid-life.

Like New Order ending their 2016 set with a montage of Ian Curtis images and their own version of Love Will Tear Us Apart, T2 is splattered with its own indulgences - Irvine Welsh pops up again - and though I had to look it up, there's a cameo by a gangster character that's the equivalent of a backing vocal from one of the Happy Mondays at a Stone Roses gig.

It's a good film, an enjoyable journey, with differing versions of the way the story could be told competing with one another. My favourite three scenes were the scamming of a Loyalist social club in Glasgow (original), the meeting of Renton and Begbie in adjacent toilet cubicles (well shot) and the ending (won't spoil it).

The best and most important character in the film is Veronika, the Bulgarian "friend" of Simon, or "Sick Boy". She tells the others they are tourists in their past, while she has no past worth recalling, so only has a future. It's the line that defines the film and almost every detail of it.

1 comment:

John Macaulay said...

Spot on Michael, absolutely spot on. Top film. Love a healthy dose of nostalgia especially when curated by the magic of Danny Boyle, Ian Brown, Ewan McGregor, Tim Booth et al. Perhaps Blossoms are more akin to Veronica...