I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for a sequel as I have been for Danny Boyle’s T2: Trainspotting, and I certainly haven’t been as excited for a film of any type in quite some time. This excitement is not due to being a “Trainspotting fan” (though I think it is an excellent film, I wouldn’t consider myself a “fan”); but rather that I was so impressed with what I saw in T2′s first full-length trailer.
As a piece of marketing, the trailer is a piece-de-resistance in its inclusion of sufficient drug use and sexual content to give a sense of the film’s subject matter and themes, excite the fan-base, and pique the interest of newcomers, but also in its disguising of such material by pulsating music and impressionistic editing (much like the trailer for the original film). However, I do fear that the trailer has included too many key moments from the film (a complaint that is unfortunately applicable to a good majority of contemporary film trailers).
However, this problem can be overlooked in face of the sheer magnificence of the footage. To my mind, there are certain directors who work better with celluloid, while others work better with digital, and Danny Boyle appears to have now mastered the unique aspects of digital filmmaking. The lighting is high contrast, the fluorescent colours are saturated, the camera movement is frenetic, and the edges of objects in the frame pop like comic book illustrations. If there was a film that would benefit from digital filmmaking and such manic direction as Boyle’s, it is T2.
As much as I am looking forward to seeing such bravura direction on the big screen, what is most appealing to me about this trailer is that it paints T2 as being a potentially greater film than its predecessor. One of the reasons this appears to be the case is, although there will probably be as much sex, drugs, and misbehavin’ as the original, the tone seems to have radically changed; while the original did not advocate drugs the way some critics claimed it did, the fact remains that Trainspotting was made by young people, about young people, for young people, and hence it had an inherent optimism and positive energy about it. Now that the characters, and director, have grown older, we are now faced with the truth of the addict.
While the media typically portrays addiction as being a young man’s game, the sad truth is that addiction doesn’t age. The addict is in a constant state of “watching history repeat itself”. Due to this shift of focus from the thrill of each hit and the potential of recovery presented by the original, to the circularity and mundanity of the addict’s lifestyle, T2 promises to be a modern tragedy about people who know better but can’t help themselves. However, it looks fairly certain that the tragedy will be imbued with magnificently psychedelic imagery, moments of euphoric beauty, and afterwards, will hopefully leave us with the same lust for life the original did.