“T2 TRAINSPOTTING” CHUGS INTO BERLIN
The box-office success of cult-movie sequels has always been elusive, and arguably none of them has become a cult classic on its own. The producers of T2 Trainspotting are clearly hoping to reverse that record. They brought their movie to Berlin on Friday to screen it out of competition at the Berlin Film Festival (the Berlinale). And they did so with candid trepidation. At a news conference, Danny Boyle, its director, told reporters that he had marked time for 20 years until he had a script that he could confidently embrace. “It had to be something worth taking the risk. It had to be more painful, more personal,” he remarked, noting that he already had a draft of a script in hand soon after the original Trainspotting was released but eventually trashed it because he thought it wouldn’t work. What he came up with after 20 years of rewrites is a film brimming with nostalgia — the original cast returns — but, said Boyle, “the core of this nostalgia is disappointment. … That’s why it’s a much more painful movie for me than Trainspotting.” Critics were prepared to be pained as well. “Many who love movies love Boyle,” wrote Winke Husmann in Berlin’s Die Zeit, “and no one, really nobody wanted him to do this sequel. … And [they thought]even if it were a really great movie, it would still be worse than the original.” But in an inerview with Collider Online recorded during the filming, costar Ewen MacGregor commented, “None of us want to make a poor sequel to it. So had we not been presented with the most extraordinary script, which we were, I think we wouldn’t be making the sequel. But because we were, we are.” Critics, by and large, agreed that the film succeeds on its own. “There’s no chance of its successor matching that legacy, but it won’t tarnish it either,” wrote the London Daily Telegraph critic Robbie Collin. Likewise Mark Kermode wrote in the Sunday Observer, that “it is a worthy sequel to what has become a sacred original, respecting the rough edges of its forerunner while putting middle-aged flesh on the once raw ribcages of its oddly sympathetic subjects.” Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian was not disappointed, either, calling the film, “everything I could reasonably have hoped for – scary, funny, desperately sad, with many a bold visual flourish.” On the other hand, Neil Young in the Hollywood Reporter scorned the T2 sequel as “stylistically an overwrought rehash” that displays an “essential paucity of raison d’etre.” The film is due to be released in North America on March 17.