Irvine Welsh’s Ecstacy

Ecstasy Irvine Welshs Ecstacy

Using Irvine Welsh's The Undefeated, from his short story collection, Ecstasy, Rob Heydon's first feature throws us into Welsh's familiar world of pre-rolled joints and crashed out clubbers. A self-proclaimed Peter Pan character, Lloyd is now one of the oldest punters in the clubs, surviving on drug-running trips over to Amsterdam to visit Sven.

Lloyd's debts to club-owner, Solo, are ever-growing and Solo's ex-military, ex-SAS boss, Big Man, is putting pressure on Solo. Living in a drug-induced haze, Lloyd fails to realise the severity of his situation and continues to party on. At a church rave he has organised, Lloyd meets Heather, a young Canadian trying to escape her failed marriage. Through Heather, he realises there's more to life than "Ecces", "Disco Biscuits" and "Super Marios" but will he be able to clean up his act?

Heydon is clearly trying to emulate the success of Danny Boyle's 90s' adaptation of Trainspotting. Ecstasy begins with a familiar voice-over with freeze-frames introducing titled characters: "The truth is the moment you taste it, you know E is pure f*cking magic… I feel like I can fly right out of this big cynical world." In keeping with Boyle's style, the film also ends with similarly optimistic feel-good narration, reminiscent of McGregor's Renton.

Heydon plugs suburbs of Edinburgh to ground the film and predictably gives Ecstasy that Scottish feel by including bagpipe buskers and tartan wearers. Aside from obviously Scottish accents, clips of the Scotland Against Narcotics ad campaign are also used to place its hero. Forced airport scenes are a tad embarrassing and sped-up traffic footage initially works but becomes tiresome as Heydon repeatedly reuses the technique throughout the film. Think sped-up sex and restaurant scenes and date montages, not to mention psychedelic hazy footage of Lloyd's final smuggle.

Lloyd's voice-over describing in great depth how it feels to take E and the physical reactions to the drug are in keeping with Heydon's source material but feel a little dated. Heather too is living the cliché of wanting to make Lloyd a "better man". Exchanges between Lloyd and his alcoholic father feel more realistic as Lloyd tries to help him comes to terms with the death of his wife, believing: "We carry our past on our backs". Although a lazy way to develop sympathetic characters, a moving exchange of truths between Heather and Lloyd starkly contrasts to an earlier sex scene where each horny participant listens to their own ear-phoned music while doing the deed.

Literally exploring the idea of love as a drug, Ecstasy certainly doesn't glorify drug trafficking and although far from original, remains enjoyable enough viewing, reminding us never to "be afraid of love" and acting as a warning against the dangers of "boredom and indifference".

For more trailers and scenese from the movie check out their Youtube Channel.

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