Posts Tagged ‘ Robert Carlyle ’


T2 Trainspotting
Admittedly I was initially nonplussed by the original Trainspotting feature due to being more impressed by the novel and preferring subsequent stage productions- particularly those at the Edinburgh Fringe over the last two years- but time has mellowed my original weary scepticism and I now wholly appreciate that it is a landmark film of its time; those are the very qualities which clouded my first impressions incidentally.
Anyway who could resist a film which boosted the careers of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed bringing them to the attention and subsequent prominence to a whole new generation?
This sequel, re-introducing the original characters from Irvine Welsh’s book, therefore has a lot to live up to and this is it does to some extent although it offers nothing new nor any clear insights into what returning to your past actually means.
Re-assembling the original cast of Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewan Bremner and Robert Carlyle as well as the superfluous addition of Kelly Mac Donald – whose scene is so incongruous it feels as if it is there simply for the sake of giving her a scene. Helmed once again by Danny Boyle this gives the film some additional kudos and a sense of the past merging with the present. However I felt now, as I did with the original production, that Ewan Mc Gregor is all out to sea with his performance and once again is the film’s weakest link.
However both Ewen Bremner as Spud and Robert Carlyle as Begbie are excellent in their roles and Jonny Lee Miller always has his charisma to help him through but the real star of the film is Edinburgh itself.
Never has the city looked so appealing on-screen and even in the more desperate scenes when the city’s underside is used to show its deprivation. It also helps having local characters such as Bradley Welsh in the role of a sauna owner cum gangster type and Garry Fraser as second unit director as well as a host of Edinburgh faces as extras giving the whole thing a local flavour. Even the much maligned trams make what must be their film debut.
The plot, for what it matters, revolves around Mark Renton’s ( Mc Gregor) return to Edinburgh and the people he ripped off for thousands twenty years before. The following action revolves around him setting up another scam and being pursued by an unforgiving Begbie who let’s say hasn’t let twenty years mellow his anger or his thirst for vengeance.
To anyone nostalgic for the thrills the original film provided at a time when ‘Cool Brittania’ ruled our pop culture and Trainspotting flew the Scottish flag high and proud then I would wholeheartedly recommend this film as it will awaken the lost youth of those days. On its own merits though T2 Trainspotting can hold its head high although the remix of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life at the films dénouement is unnecessary; some things should be left as they are and need neither remixed nor a sequel!
One thing that irked me however was if the film is set twenty years on from the original film which was set in the mid eighties why was there such a proliferation of smart phones which were nowhere near as ubiquitous around 2005-2006 as they are in this film. Just a minor detail but a detail nonetheless!



The Legend of Barney Thomson

Directed by and starring Robert Carlyle ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’ provides this year’s EIFF opening gala presentation and in this context it works. It is a light-hearted stab at dark comedy which although it has its moments- mainly in the form of Emma Thomson as a worthy co-star as the protagonist’s mother- falls somewhat short of its own ambitions as it is neither dark or funny enough to register as a classic of its particular genre.
Barney Thomson(Carlyle) is one of life’s underachievers who having worked for over twenty years in the same establishment a barber finds himself usurped by younger colleagues who have the ability to communicate more fluently with customers and don’t seem to have had the charisma bypass that he has suffered. Frustrated and volatile his situation is only made worse when after being sacked he accidentally kills his boss and finds himself en route to being Glasgow’s answer to Sweeney Todd.
Enlisting the help of his harridan of a mother-brilliantly played in an over the top manner complete with Glaswegian accent and convincing prosthetics by Emma Thomson- he subsequently finds himself in a situation which aside from being a voyage of discovery is also a spiralling descent into evermore implausible and improbable situations.
Parallel to this scenario is a mass murderer on the loose on the Glasgow streets who posts body parts of their quarry to their victims’ families. The police team investigating this spate of killings is led by an over the top Ray Winstone and his trusty but bumbling assistant who is also being thwarted and usurped in his own ambitions by a younger female officer (Ashley Jensen).
Both stories eventually merge and the outcome is nowhere as unexpected as I suspect it would like to think itself as the clues are obvious in the plot from the very outset but this doesn’t make the film any less enjoyable.
‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’ is probably a good choice for an opening film for this year’s festival even if it does stray on the side of safe. Carlyle, Winstone and Jensen are ably supported in their roles by a stellar cast which also includes martin Compston and Samuel Robertson although it is Emma Thomson who steals the show in her over the top but still highly believable guise as a Glasgow harpy. The film is not the most memorable film you are likely to see at this year’s event but that doesn’t mean it is not enjoyable for its duration.