Tag Archives: Ewan McGregor

T2 Trainspotting

29 Mar
Johnny Lee Miller and Ewan McGregor reprise their roles as Sick Boy and Renton, both a little older but not much wiser

It’s been 21 years since Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor shocked audiences with that creepy dive into a fecal-fleeced toilet in Trainspotting, somehow making being a heroin addict a hilariously biting — albeit tragic — trip along the way. Part gonzo romp, part sad social satire, the stylish weave followed the vein-piercing antics of four Edinburgh junkies, slaves to skag and capable of doing anything to score their next fix — including ripping off their best mates. Not a great lot to throw in with, but a highly entertaining one as the fix-needing squabbles reached the near hyperbolic absurdity of the Three Stooges.

At the end of that 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s cult novel, one of the four is dead and another runs off with the group’s hard-earned drug money, which leave affairs in a difficult place to pick up, but Boyle and his screenwriter John Hodge, who adapted T1 and has collaborated with Boyle on several other projects, have a real feel for the lads and leverage Welsh’s 2002 follow up, Porno to give the middle-aged blokes a shot at redemption before heading off for the nursing home.

We first catch up with McGregor’s Renton (the guy who stole all the money and — as the film has it — ruined everyone else’s life) now living in the Netherlands and who appears to have made good on his promise at the end of Trainspotting to change, but a small cardiovascular event trips him up (literally) and sends him back to Scotland where he learns his mom has passed. A quick check in with old pal Spud (Ewen Bremner) finds unhappy times for the sweetly pathetic user who’s been unable to shake his monkey. The reunion is cemented by an uproarious eruption of vomit that becomes one of the film’s most lingering images the same way excrement took center stage the last time. Next up on the reunion tour is Sick Boy (Elementary‘s Johnny Lee Miller) who half wants revenge but also needs Renton to help launch a massage parlor that’ll offer happy endings to those in the know. Renton agrees partly out of remorse and old time’s sake but also because he’s drawn to Sick Boy’s girlfriend and house-madam-to-be, Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova, who’s sultry, yet knowing presence lights up the screen). Continue reading

Advertisements

American Pastoral

26 Oct

Ewan McGregor’s uneven adaptation of Phillip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “American Pastoral” extends the trend of Roth novels not quite hitting the author’s intended notes on the big screen. It also marks McGregor’s first foray behind the lens, which shows promise and may have borne bigger fruit had he not also cast himself as in the pivotal role of Seymour “Swede’’ Levov, a blond-haired, blue-eyed gridiron god looking starkly Scandinavian against fellow Newark Jews. Early reviews have claimed McGregor miscast, but yet none cite suggestions of who would work. Jude law, Andrew Garfield, Brad Pitt? The list is endless, but if you’re going to cry foul, have a bird in the hand.

102116i-american-pastoralMcGregor, the British actor who played Obi-Wan in the “Star Wars” films, is passable for the man delivered through the Greatest Generation and blessed with much. In the wake of the war he marries a non-Jewish beauty queen (Jennifer Connelly), takes over the family glove manufacturing business and moves out to WASPy Old Rimrock of Morris County. But as the 1950s shift into the 1960s, Swede’s world is upended by the women in his life: Merry, his sweet, effervescent daughter cursed with a pronounced stammer, witnesses the iconic monk immolation that swept TV screens in 1963 and blossoms into a radical activist (played with palpable turmoil by Dakota Fanning) who may be responsible for the firebombing of Rimrock’s post office that leaves a cherished townsman dead. Merry goes underground and Connelly’s Dawn has a nervous breakdown, only to rise an adulterous mass consumer moved on from the memory of her daughter. Swede never relents, and blames himself. Continue reading