Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

31.01.17 Trainspotting 2

31.01.17 Trainspotting 2

31/01/17, Trainspotting 2 (T2) at the Cameo cinema

On entering a full Cameo cinema with a tight, rather ugly hat on (£5 from Scottish Co-Op), I asked the doorman if I could go through to the screens and use the bathroom. 'Certainly,' he said, 'the gents' are just over there.' I was wearing a skirt, I wasn't tomboyish or androgynous in my look (or not deliberately, though the hat didn't help). I ignored his advice and made my way to the disabled toilets, my soul deflated.

Thus began my night at the cinema with T2, the sequel to the era-defining original of 1996. Having already written one full review, available on a new website set up by friends, www.the-ogilvie.com, I'll try to avoid repeating myself. Instead, I'll recast my gaze to the moments my earlier review doesn't cover, a more personal angle to an evening that became quite personal. At times during T2, I wiped my mascara-smudged eyes at the emotion of the film, especially in the scenes involving the character Spud. Spud is harmless, he is hopeless, also weak, well-meaning, sensitive, perceptive, he comes across as stupid, with his up-and-down nature he sometimes is stupid. He is what I could have been if I'd succumbed to drugs. He is sometimes how I come across anyway. Near the beginning of the film, he tries to kill himself for the shame he causes his family. I really wanted to cry at this point. I did cry at this point.

I cried at other moments. When at the end Mark Renton makes up with his father (the mother now dead), moves in with him, finally the rounded, loving human being his parents have always deserved. I was moved by the constant dabs of schoolboy photos of Renton and Sick Boy, when they were best friends. They become best friends again, eventually, when it really counts. I'm sorry for all the spoilers, but this isn't a film to watch for Shyamalan surprises. T2 is a film about growing up, past the point of realizing – or caring – you might not become the star you dreamed of being when you were young.

The film's screenwriter, John Hodge, joked in an interview how T2 – with its twenty-year gap between first and sequel – is like the Oscar-winning Boyhood (2014), a film made over several years to show the development of a boy to man. Kind of, but not. Boyhood was boring and overhyped and left me nonplussed. T2 had me sitting at the end in reflection, about how I'd watched the original back in the 1990s as a young man with the world at his feet. How I sat there twenty years on in an Edinburgh cinema as Gina, a trans woman awkwardly transitioning, 'living the dream.'

And yet I don't know if T2 is that good a film. It's getting four stars from five by most critics, it lacks the savage edge of its predecessor, the concluding zero-sum-game. With its sometimes cartoon violence – especially regarding Begbie, who is almost a caricature, even if psychos like him really exist, and I know that they do – it's a film that sometimes dips into British 1980s comedic violence, like something from The Young Ones (1982; 1984). But Begbie is ultimately a plot device in this film, the avenging angel that Renton must face at the end. What really matters are Renton, Sick Boy and Spud. When they're together, you become uplifted by the obvious love they feel for each other, despite everything. And in my own awkward way, for the rays of sunlight that shone intermittently from it, I think I loved this film as well.
19.02.17 John Wick 2
27.01.17 Ghost in the Shell


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Thursday, 24 September 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
October 05, 2019


October 05, 2019


Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...