21 years since the seminal original film, Danny Boyle reunites his cast to provide us with a sequel that is different, but just as worthy of praise.
Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to Edinburgh for the first time since he double crossed the group and stole their money. Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) runs a number of underworld money making schemes, whilst Spud (Ewan Bremner) is still a scag head and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) is devising a way out of prison. The group as a whole are facing the disappointment and demons of growing up.
The first hour is genius. Boyle is just as inventive as ever. His camera seems to race at a 100mph and he includes inventive freeze frames, writing on the screen and cuts back to the original film and footage of the group as boys. The use of the original film and references back to imagery and locations from it are worked in extremely well, both as a neat nod to fans and as a framing device for the characters regrets and fears.
The second hour is not quite as perfect. Begbie, still one of the scariest men on screen, is marginalised slightly from the main plot and as a whole, whilst it’s great to see these characters again, it’s not totally clear why we need to see them. Every time you want to see the characters let loose, an Iggy Pop song or a “Choose Life” speech is cut short or filled with bile and regret. But, these men are 20 years older and when it comes together at the end it feels right.
A deserving sequel to the classic original.