T2 – For those who weren’t there the first time around

Emma Smith

T2 views as the successful result of a middle-aged focus group. Danny Boyle, knows his demographic and plays to it effortlessly through the splicing of flashbacks of the character’s past and striking the audience with the old hits or in this instance dialogue (if you will excuse the pun).

Which begs the question, what’s in it, for those who weren’t there the first time around? The generation that have not waited 20 years for the sequel but who are just discovering the works of Irvine Welsh and the tag line “Choose Life”.

A question that is posed by Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova) Sick boy’s business partner in the film; what does “Choose Life” mean?


Your mood will not be lifted but your mind challenged by this movie


Some would say little; T2 is the antithesis to its popular neighbouring screening “La La Land”. Your mood will not be lifted but your mind challenged by this movie. Boyle cleverly shows the modern development of Edinburgh through fast moving scenes whilst contrasting it with the ever-prevalent run down high rises where the main characters reside.

The film is a dark insight into midlife displaying broken dreams and unhappiness. The characters appear to have not moved on from their youth and continue to aimlessly chase their past and the demons that haunt them.

But, as a writer and an artist I saw hope and light from the most unexpected of places through the film’s anti-hero Spud Murphy , portrayed magnificently by Ewen Bremner. He is aware of the destruction of drugs on his family, work and life but can see no point of rescue. Only with the return of a clean and successful Renton (Ewan McGregor) is he awoken to the options available to him.

“Addiction is addiction” as Renton puts it therefore find something else to be addicted too. After failings with running and hiking to name a few, Spud finds success with an all-encompassing habit that can be shared and give back something to his friends and family: writing.


If you are looking for an artist’s journey through song and dance this is not the right film


I found great beauty in Spud’s episodes of manic penning’s and pages plastered to his walls. It was a display of passion and one that I could relate too. He was no longer just a drug addict or a failure, he was an artist.

If you are looking for an artist’s journey through song and dance this is not the right film. In fact, unlike its predecessor, the soundtrack is somewhat forgettable. But, if you wish to watch a man’s survival through the gift of writing this film is for you. Spud is not your average hero, he has no weapons or super powers but his ability to take down the irksome Begbie (Robert Carlyle) with his penned words is powerful and entertaining.

Words not violence. The character shows bravery and determination to document his life and that of his peers although caught in the chaotic setting of revenge and power struggles. His vow to write their story is both moving and relatable.

Watching Spud find his voice on paper is one of the film’s greatest successes as it shows the surrounding characters ramblings for what they are; pure banter and noise. Because, truly, are we all not desperate to be heard? Instead of “dance not like no one is watching”, it is a case of “write like no one is reading”. Write with passion, write truth and most importantly write from the heart.

Spud achieves this wonderfully, and in turn reinstates himself as a man who once again can command respect from friends and loved ones. As an audience, we feel his vulnerability as his peers read his work but also share his joy in their pride.

In a world where at times we all feel powerless we must not forget our most valuable attributes; our ability to communicate be, it, written or spoken. We can all make a difference.

I, for one, can thank Spud for showing me how we can.


Banner image: comingsoon.net

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