T2 Trainspotting

First there was an opportunity, then there was a betrayal

The opening few minutes of Danny Boyle’s introspective and retrospective T2 Trainspotting should come with a warning, but more on that later.

Surprisingly, Boyle’s first image is not in Scotland, but Amsterdam, where we see Renton (Ewan McGregor) pounding a treadmill, a direct call back to the opening of the original 1996 classic. This is followed by rapid fire updates on where the last 26 years have left Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle).

Musical and visual call backs are aplenty, kicked off with subtle notes from Lou Reeds’ Perfect Day, and grainy, almost memory-like 1996 footage, arriving within the first five minutes. These provide something of a memorial bridge to the previous film and set the scene for what is about to be unleashed. (more…)

Under the Skin (2014)

  • Director – Jonathon Glazer
  • Starring – Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor MacKay.
  • Writer – Walter Campbell, Jonathon Glazer (both screenplay), Michael Faber (novel)
  • Year – 2014
  • Running Time – 108 minutes


 Sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way and that is certainly true with Under the Skin. Normally I like to go into a film knowing nothing at all, preferring to experience the story unfolding in front of me in blissful ignorance. However this approach can occasionally lead to disaster, especially with films with non-traditional narrative structures. A case in point is Upstream Colour, which I stumbled out of a confused and mumbling mess. I think I would have exited the screen in a much more dignified manner if I had gone in armed with a basic plot structure on which to cling on to, but saying that, with Upstream Colour, I am not sure that even exists.

Whilst not as impenetrable as Upstream Colour, Under the Skin offers no fanfare, back-story or even defined characters (the actors are simply listed in the credits and not assigned to any specific role). At the start of the film, much like Scarlett Johansson, we find ourselves on the streets of Scotland, with a clear mission, but with unclear objectives. You quickly realise Johansson is an alien like seductress, cruising the streets at the wheel of white van, seeking out young single men to entice back to a terraced house, where they meet a murky end. However for what purpose though is open to interpretation. (more…)