Today: April 25, 2024

Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy

There would be little point attempting to make Ecstasy look like anything other than an Irvine Welsh adaptation.

There would be little
point attempting to make Ecstasy look like anything other than an Irvine Welsh
adaptation
. Set on the weighted streets of Edinburgh during the ‘90s
against a back drop of pill-chugging restlessness, Welsh’s socially destructive
monologues run throughout the strands of despair, desire and self loathing that
make up the narrative of his novel.

Lloyd, played by someone you won’t have heard of unless you
had a taste for BBC airline dramas 10 years ago, is likeable enough. The
essence of lad, this is the sort of live for the weekend lost soul you would
find at the eye of most drug-based British films. Up to his earlobes on E for
the most part (and yet managing a GQ worthy appearance) Lloyd lives on the
belief that artificial highs are the only ones worth experiencing until he
falls in love. And it really is as corny as it sounds.

The minute that Kristen
Kreuk’s
Heather walks onto the scene Ecstasy begins to lose its nerve, and
declines rapidly from there. When talking about the film, Adam Sinclair (Lloyd) promises a love story and not a tale of
glamorised substance abuse. He’s true to his word; any drug culture quietens to
a dull hum as we watch Heather and Lloyd etch closer to intimacy and it becomes
increasingly evident that a pill-free existence isn’t that bad. Unfortunately
the intimacy we’re faced with is as false and temperamental as if you were in
fact on drugs. Kreuk is an obvious choice for looks and charm, but her
Hollywood shine is garish against the bleak skies of the city and with Lloyd
blurting out wistful sentiments like “I can’t start thinking about her eyes!”
you wish the comedown would swiftly commence and the bite of reality will bring
with it a more enjoyable experience.

Supporting characters are laid casually to waste. Billy Boyd’s Woodsy, who starts the
film promisingly as a small time DJ looking for religion in pop-able form packs
enough character for himself and Lloyd despite being half his height. “The only
difference between your heaven and mine is ecstasy,” he yells after a vicar
before tossing a tablet down his throat. His road to enlightenment is cut
disappointingly short though as he is monitored and eventually sectioned for his
sins. Predictably unpredictable violent drug lord Solo (Carlo Rota) has a decent go at breaking faces but is given all of
five scenes so doesn’t pose as the threat he’s supposed to.

The intention of Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy begins honestly and,
based on clear resemblances to the pulsing opening sequence of Trainspotting, wants to share some of
what Danny Boyle so effortlessly
achieved. To keep the drug culture a side story is a wise step away from what
could be a blurry contribution to this genre but to shove a sickly romance into
the foreground is where Ecstasy loses its head and its nerve.

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

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