Friday, March 24, 2017

Trainspotter 2: Monday, March 20 2017


Apparently I missed a good film when I decided I really didn't want to see the first Trainspotting, directed by Danny Boyle, released in 1996. I knew more than enough of the underside of Scottish life to think I might find a movie depicting Scottish druggies anything but disturbing. Based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh, the screenplay by John Hodge won an Academy nomination. The film has been ranked 10th by the British Film Institute (BFI) in its list of 100 best British films of all time. The public voted it the best Scottish film of all time in 2004. My judgement seems to have been a little premature.

T2 Trainspotting is directed by Danny Boyle, brilliantly. John Hodge once again has written a fantastic screenplay. The acting is amazing. Ewen McGregor as Mark Renton, Ewen Bremmer as Daniel Murphy, Jonny Lee Miller as Simon Wilkiamson, and Robert Carlyle as Francis Begby, have each created unforgettable characters. For anyone who hadn't seen the previous Trainspotters, the flashbacks filled in what would have been vacant spots, and made sure no one in the audience would have felt left out. Better still if you had read the story of the first movie on Wikipedia, as I had in preparation. I had decided I didn't want to be left out this time.

My friends seem to be all of the same opinion about T2 Trainspotters. It's a memorable, well-made film, and probably one that one ought to see, even if only to be able to converse about it. It is not a pleasurable movie, about pleasant people, in a setting that makes the audience feel as if they have been on holiday to exotic, foreign lands. The wastelands of Edinburgh are off-putting.

As a Scot, I had the same feelings that I understand Indian people had about Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire. I know that the underside of Scotland is not too pleasant, but fortunately it is not the largest part of Scotland, or of Scottish culture. I'm not too sure that I like it exposed so accurately. It left me feeling uncomfortable. I couldn't relate to the characters, nor did I appreciate their limited vocabulary that left them with the ubiquitous adjective, or expletive, which translates as sexual intercourse. It would appear that the Scottish education system, which used to be the best in the world, is no longer in that enviable position. Such a pity!

I hope audiences will take this as an anthropological study of a very small section of Scottish culture. On the other hand, there are areas of Glasgow, and Edinburgh, obviously, where a person wouldn't be wise to find themselves in after dark. There was a reason European military forces were happy to have Scottish mercenary soldiers. This film shows why the Romans built Hadrian's Wall to keep out those wild Scots. Not a pretty picture! And the last thing T2 Trainspotting could be called would be a "feel good" movie.

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