T2 Trainspotting Updates a Classic Monologue for the Social Media Age

'Choose life'. It's one of the most famous speeches in cinematic history, visciously unpacking the hollow aspirations of modern life in the nineties. Well, things have moved on a lot since then, and the ideas being explored in both Irvine Welsh's classic book, Trainspotting, and Danny Boyle's film, are a tad outdated.

Well, now we have T2: Trainspotting, adapted from Porno, the sequel to the original book. The narrative has been changed, and brought forward from 2002 to 2016, which can mean only one thing - social media. As such, the reworked, retooled version of the monologue used in the new trailer begins with the lines "choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares."

It goes on to mention slut shaming, revenge porn and a number of other modern touchstones, which given the original films sentiment about choosing a heroin-begotten fantasy realm over the drudgery of reality, makes a lot of sense. In this case, it draws the parallel between being addicted to drugs to being addicted to, well, everything else. You can watch the trailer below, but be warned that it contains scenes of hard drug use.

It's not exactly a new idea, but hearing it funneled through Renton's familiar voice somehow frames it in a different light. Is it effective? Very, but that's largely because we're actually getting a sequel to Trainspotting with the original cast and Danny Boyle back on to direct, and how the hell wouldn't be hyped about that?

The other thing worth calling attention to, as this oddly venomous article does, is that Renton's original speech was meant to be lashing out at the older generation, and that the characters are in their 40s now. That's the thing though, in the social media age it doesn't really matter how old you are, beyond a certain point, you're still being plied with the same aspirations, it's just that they've progressed from trivial to utterly ridiculous.

We're moved from converted farmhouses to like-farming, from a steady pension to a steady stream of new followers. It's BS in either case, but at least the old BS was tangible, it was easier to smell the stink. How heavily this stuff will play into the film remains to be seen, but the parallels between the ills of the nineties and the ills of the tentacles are fascinating to observe, especially through the lens of everyone's favourite gang of Edinburgh junkies.

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