Saturday, March 18, 2017

T2 Trainspotting, Who Is It For?

The upside of working in  New York City is that you get certain cultural opportunities that other people miss out on.  It is priced into your area rent, so you should make the most of it while you can.  While most people would think this would be the fine arts, such as museums and musicals, this extends to additional access to films and concerts that you would not consider fine arts, but are still a cultural opportunity.

Last night, after attending an early Pietasters show at Webster Hall, I was only three blocks away from the Regal Cinema in Union Square showing T2 Trainspotting.  After waiting for two release dates to come and go, I was determined to see the movie as soon as possible.  My original assumption was that I would see it in New Jersey, but it was playing at exactly zero theaters in the state  So, with that out of the way, I sucked it up and paid $16.35 to see the movie.

Assuming there were only ten or so minutes of previews, I hustled my way up two sets of escalators, determined not to be late.  Of course, there were more than twenty minutes of previews, so I was in fact early, despite my horrified belief that I was late and was missing the opening of the film, something I've only done once, during the third time I saw Chasing Amy in a theater back in 1997 at a $2.50 movie house in South Jersey.

That being said, I was still excited, as was most of the audience, because Trainspotting is a cultural touchstone for many people, including those who didn't fill their veins with heroin, but found the movie intoxicating nonetheless.  The sequel is loosely based on Porno, Irvine Welsh's follow up to the same characters from the Trainspotting world, cutting the plot down significantly to focus on a limited number of events and characters.

As to the film, it was truly filmed for people who loved the original movie.  It was full of callbacks for people that the loved the original, small and large.  The movie doesn't struggle despite being slavish about remixing every beat from the original, changed to reflect what 20 years added would feel like.  The cinematography was outstanding, mixing a variety of styles and film types to depict different eras and thoughts.  The story, stripped down, was very much a going home story.

Going home stories always remind us that the world moves forward, despite our constant yearning to go back to simpler times or times when our futures were before us instead of slowly moving into the rear view mirror, as we ask ourselves where did we go wrong.  And the movie brilliantly spells this out in the Choose Life speech, which looks at our decisions and our world 20 years later, giving us pause to examine our failures.  The story also has a slant about neoliberalism and the people left behind, which I find rare in art at the moment, but will likely blow up in the next ten years as the pool of people left behind by society's breakneck pace will no longer just be people who work with their hands, but also those who work with their minds.

That being said, if you saw the original, you should see the sequel, but seeing the movie without the original would make large parts make no sense, since the context of the sequel is solely the original movie, so the movie is for people, who love Trainspotting, but at the same time saw their lives not move forward as expected, but move slowly behind, as their lives are slowly bleeding out of them, with no way to cauterize their slow, impending death. 

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