Trainspotting defined not just a generation, but an era of post-Thatcher British subculture, firmly slotted at the bottom of the social scale. Trainspotting was the voice of the disillusioned. Its legacy as the most recognised and referenced film of the ’90s permeates pop culture, proving it as truly iconic. The trailer for the sequel, directed by Danny Boyle, based on Irvine Welsh’s 2002 novel Porno and starring the cast as featured in the 1996 original, was released today. It’s an homage to the first, with similar tones of thrilling excitement and vivid brutality.
The trailer for T2 has the same feel as the first – it’s dark, featuring the illusory events pioneered in the first: the image of Spud falling off a tower block to be caught by Renton takes the drug-altered reality of the gang and recaptures it, much like that toilet scene of the original. It’s full of crime, drugs and the Edinburgh underworld; just 20 years on.
Most of all, the trailer is nostalgic. ‘Born Slippy’ by Underworld – the song played continuously throughout Trainspotting – plays over the first half of the trailer, taking us back to the first time we watched the film. Not only that, but much of the cast has returned; Ewan McGregor, Ewen Brenmer, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle reprise their roles as the four central characters, and Kelly MacDonald and Shirley Henderson are also seen in the trailer. Then there’s Renton’s laugh after he’s hit by a car. And if it weren’t reminiscent enough, the trailer alone features more drugs than even an addict could imagine.
Saying that, it doesn’t show the film as a carbon copy of Trainspotting; instead, it’s clear that this is a film set in the 2010s about the 2010s. There’s reference to zero-hour contracts, social media and cocaine – the heroin of the 21st century. The trailer poses the realties of poverty and its by-effects, and how it never really ends. Edinburgh has aged with the characters; watch the chase scene be replaced in the trailer by a sombre Renton sitting on a tram down Princes Street (like anyone could look happy on an Edinburgh tram). Over the second half of the trailer, Wolf Alice’s ‘Silk’ is played, a song that encapsulats perfectly the ethereal feel Boyle’s direction brings to Trainspotting.
So, as we count down the days until the 27th January, don’t forget to:
“Choose life. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and hope someone, somewhere, cares. Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently. And choose watching history repeat itself. Choose your future. Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn. Choose a zero-hour contract, a 2 hour journey to work, and choose the same for your kids – only worse; and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in someone’s kitchen, and then take a deep breath.
You’re an addict, so be addicted – just be addicted to something else.
Choose the ones you love.
Choose your future.
Words by Caitlin O’Connor