T2 Trainspotting is the 20 years later sequel to the sort-of cult classic original film, which followed four heroin addict friends through their debaucherous lives in Edinburgh and London. T2 shows where these characters have ended up in the modern day, each of them still somewhat roped in to their lives of the past. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to Edinburgh to return the money that he stole from his friends 20 years ago. Simon (Jonny Lee Miller) has moved from heroin to cocaine, blackmailing rich people into getting more money for more powder. Daniel (Ewen Bremner) is still an addict, clinging on to his sad, old life with little hope left. Franco (Robert Carlyle) has been in prison for the past 20 years, and busts out to continue his thieving life. As the four men cross paths once again, they start to fall back into the lives that screwed them up in the first place.
T2 truly shines in the way that it carries out these characters' stories and intertwines them into the mess that they call their relationships and lives together. And a lot of what makes the story-telling so great is the movie's almost visceral style. The film practically drips with funky visuals that kind of make the audience feel as high as the main characters. The editing and camera work tell the story as well as the actual dialogue, taking us through the main characters' head spaces and helping the audience understand what each of them is going through. This movie has too many cool shots and cinematographic moments to count, and it is the focal point of the film’s quality.
The characters and dialogue are intriguing as well, following these extremely flawed but somehow still loveable junkie-criminals as they try to reclaim their old lives. The four leads all do an excellent job as their respective roles, each of them bringing a different type of manic energy to their characters. The only major issue I had here (and I blame my dumb, American ears for this) is that I occasionally had a difficult time understating the dialogue through the thick Scottish accents. Sometimes the movie help you out on this front, using stylish subtitles to help less acclimated audience members understand what the hell some of the characters (mostly Franco) are saying.
T2 is an excellent piece of filmmaking, and one of the most interesting looking movies I have seen in a long time. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t love overly stylized camerawork and visuals and prefers a lot of very straight-forward storytelling, this probably isn’t for you. But, in my mind, this was a welcome change in a sea of similarity.