I never thought a film where Keanu Reeves is tortured by two female sociopaths would be more interesting than the lives of Edinburgh junkies.
I was wrong.
Knock Knock is far superior to Trainspotting 2. Yes, I know they are completely different genres, but as far as being gripping and entertaining, Knock Knock delivers on all fronts.
Implausible as it seems, Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) — a nice family man dragged into an impromptu threesome — is so much more interesting than Renton’s (Ewan McGregor’s) return to Edinburgh after a 20-year absence.
For a start, Reeves is raped by a woman dressed as a schoolgirl with a daddy fetish, after which he utters the memorable line, ‘You sucked my c**k. You both sucked my c**k,’ while tied to a chair and bleeding from a table fork wound.
Watching Reeves scream about his c**k as the women deface his wife’s artwork, children’s photographs, record collection, furniture, kitchen pantry, backyard and an iPad is so much more painful and disturbing than Renton trying to rip off his friends again.
Let me explain.
It’s all about the characters.
For starters, nothing about Begbie, Sick Boy, Renton or Spud is remotely interesting or likeable. In the first Trainspotting movie, Renton was an anti hero. Although his actions were deplorable, the character had an interesting arc that promised some sort of salvation. Not so in this sequel. Renton hasn’t changed at all and returns to Edinburgh to find none of his former mates have either.
While no-one expects three junkies and a sociopath to have matured into a supportive and stable friendship group, for the sake of the movie they might have at least tried.
In fact, Renton is less savvy than in his early 20s, indicating that his IQ presumably plummeted when he quit heroin.
As for Sick Boy, he now manages a bar in an abandoned industrial estate and also pimps out his girlfriend.
However, the highly stylised set, full of decaying furniture, buildings and people, looks like a wealthy popstar hangout or where you might find comedian Russell Brand doing a gig.
Begbie, the most violent and least intelligent of the group, manages to break out of prison and return to his family home. For some reason, the police don’t immediately come looking for him and is therefore free to roam the streets trying to kill Renton.
If the film isn’t silly enough already, Renton, Sick Boy and his girlfriend (who is now sleeping with Renton) make a successful bid for council money to revive the decaying industrial estate. Presumably they all know how to write a successful business plan and their lack of experience and criminal histories appear to be no barrier to a £100,000 loan delivered into their bank accounts promptly.
Anybody who has ever dealt with government departments would agree that this is pure fantasy and far more ludicrous than Keanu Reeves being stabbed by a fork and tied to a chair by two petite women.
Indeed, one feels sorry for Evan Webber in a way that you can’t for Renton. The Trainspotting crew have morphed into dreary middle-aged Scottish men with nothing new to offer.
It is a real shame because the original Trainspotting is a great film.
Knock Knock is not a great film. Its story is absurd and full of plot holes but at least the acting is good, the characters elicit sympathy and it explores the depravity of the human psyche far better than Trainspotting 2.
Keanu: How come you never look any older?