Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy
- Director:Rob Heydon
- Cast:Billy Boyd, Kristin Kreuk, Adam Sinclair
- Release Date:April 26, 2012
- Running time:99 minutes
- Film Worth:$9.00
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A crass and shallow exploration of a potentially interesting topic, which makes for one downer of a cinematic trip.
Try as you might, it's difficult not to compare Rob Heydon's Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy to Danny Boyle's 1996 knockout hit, Trainspotting (adapted from Irvine Welsh's much loved novel), especially given the rush of similarities in the opening scenes: a first-person Scottish voiceover, on-screen captions introducing characters, frenzied action and freeze frames, and even the protagonist fishing a drug stash out of a toilet bowl. On its own, Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy is a slightly crass but watchable trip, but when compared to Boyle's masterpiece, the lack of insight, invention or wit in Heydon's adaptation becomes glaringly obvious.
Based on an Irvine Welsh short story, we follow party-boy, Lloyd (Adam Sinclair), as he smuggles drugs from Amsterdam to Edinburgh for a mid-level gangster, and falls for the straight-laced Heather (Smallville's Kristin Kreuk). At its core is an interesting question: when two people are continually high, how real can that love be? But its exploration is disappointingly shallow, with first-time feature filmmaker, Heydon, registering as proof that having a swag of music videos to your credit doesn't make you an apt director of narrative fiction, or even actors, for that matter. While Sinclair reveals sly charm as Lloyd, Kreuk portrays her character as blandly as it's been scripted, and the pair's unconvincing relationship is played out via a montage of cheesiness, including trips to the zoo, candlelit baths, and Lloyd declaring that, "She makes me want to be a better man." There is, however, a terrific supporting player in Billy Boyd as Lloyd's half-mad friend, Woodsy, who rails against organised religion as an ineffective form of ecstasy.
For a film about ecstasy - both the drug and the feeling of being in love - we're never privy to the euphoric highs, nor the crippling lows. And Heydon's handling of the central question via a relatively happy ending is troubling, suggesting that kicking an addiction isn't actually too hard after all.