Trainspotting 2: the visual wealth

Sick Boy and Renton in Nature

It is always a tough challenge to release a sequel. The original creation is unique, unforgettable. And it is especially difficult in the case of Trainspotting as it was an important milestone in pop culture. Its vibe affected not only the movie industry, but also visual arts.

Boyle takes same actors at their fourth decade, same stage (Edinburg) and is willing to re-create this buzz! It is quite a mission, isn’t it?

Ignore the official promotion: neither the poster nor the trailer preview what you about to see. It isn’t as dramatic and serious as in the black-white poster below.



Nor it is such a rushing action movie as appears in the trailer.

Rather you about to see very colorful and surrealistic picture, full of irregular filming techniques and witness original points of view on friendship, family, love and finally life.



The sequel is full of photographic frames that are rich in terms of composition and quality. Deep closeups express the character’s emotional states better than any words.

Spud Closeup

No more falsifications: the life is hard and unpredictable.

Sick Boy Disapointed should live in a better world, without all that chaos.. – writes Spud to his family.

While the world in Trainspotting 2 isn’t that bad. At least, in between, we spot some very powerful frames.

Walk in the city

Civil Skyscraper



Unlike modern blockbusters T2 scenes are very scenic and artistic. Whether it is the chase scene, enthusiastic discussion in the Spud’s poor slum, meetings in the bar – all are carefully crafted resulting spectator to experience a sort of surrealistic reality.

Bekbie family

Begbie with his family

Spuds flat

Spud’s flat



Boyle uses practically all possible color combinations while keeping the picture well balanced. There are purely red, blue, green and yellow scenes easily switched back into natural lightened atmosphere. Similar to refrain these pauses enrich the movie making it multi-dimensional.

T2 Red

Veronica Blue

Yellow Run




Some shots directly interact with commonly known images. See below the frame where Renton and Spud climb onto the hill during the morning run.

On the hill

And compare it with the famous Led Zeppelin album cover. Although these scenes are completely different there’s certain similarity in composition, characters movement and so the underlying message. This visual interaction keeps the spectator busy by creating an additional layer in the back of his mind.

LedZeppelin Cover



Innovative Techniques

T2 is shining with some innovative techniques. Some scenes are shot in a way you might never seen before. The dialog below begins with close up, while there’s a wide separation between its participants. As the camera moves back you realize they actually appear in two different windows and it is the wall between them.

Street view

The scene where Veronica and Renton is consulting with the advocate, Diana, is being shot from different points of view. The frame below shows this conversation from the corridor, as if the spectator was passing by. This is interesting because if you ever been in this spot you always wonder what are these people talking about. Also, the frame perfectly reflects the love story that is being developed between them. It is as transparent and tiny as this visual.




Bottom Line

The movie is ver colorful, surprising and dynamic. You aren’t bored for a single moment. Each narrative goes through transformation making you wonder.

The story is linked with events that took place 20 years ago and characters meet again. But this time they are not same teenagers seeking for some fun, drugs and sex. They are grown people thrilled by natural needs and unanswered questions.

It is a smart surrealistic poem about the western culture of the 2nd decade. It compares ethic values of nowadays with those twenty years ago showing that nothing really change. Only people do.

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