Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy begins with Lloyd (Adam Sinclair) going over to Amsterdam to get some tablets from Sven (Stefen Hayes), by stuffing them up his back passage, for Solo (Carlo Rota), who runs the nightclub back home. He’s also been given 20% extra for himself which he plans to sell and split it with his friends Woodsy (Billy Boyd) and Ally (Keram Malicki-Sánchez).
However, we soon learn that Solo isn’t a particularly nice chap and decides to shift the goalposts by demanding more money and product from Lloyd which rather starts to push him over the edge, although he temporarily gets one over on Solo by hosting his own rave night in a church. The Father knows what’s about to go on, but only goes along with it because they’ll benefit financially from the ticket sales and there’s not a lot of money in Christianity these days.
The only thing that can rescue Lloyd from this life is a Canadian girl named Heather (Kristin Kreuk), who he meets in a nightclub while she’s out with her friend Marie (Natalie Brown), and there’s a lot of club scenes. While these demonstrate an aural treat in pumping bass, they do sadly substitute for the plot an awful lot.
This is billed as the follow-up to Trainspotting, but the only similarity is that they both feature drug taking and are filmed in Scotland. Too often, this film falls into the trap of – one minute Lloyd’s hanging around with Heather and the next, he’s being chased by Solo and/or his bodyguards – and repeat…
At other times, we see that his father (Stephen McHattie) drinks too much and his mother died a few years ago, and at other times Lloyd’s hanging around with Hazel (Olivia Andrup), who forever parades about in a schoolgirl outfit.
Now, none of this sounds like something I’d expect from Irvine Welsh. In fact, it sounds very tame. And there’s the problem. It’s just mostly rather dull. There are some reasonably engaging moments, such as when Lloyd’s bringing back drugs from abroad and trying to get through customs, as well as his earlier run-ins with Solo, but apart from that it’s nothing to write home about. I later found out (because I don’t read books) that Ecstasy was actually three separate stories, and here we only have the longer one of the three. I don’t know if it might’ve spiced things up if they were able to include elements of the others somehow.
The cast make a decent fist of what they have to work with, though. Billy Boyd makes for a clearly mental Woodsy, as does Carlo Rota (as Solo), a man I’ve only seen once before as Chloe O’Brian’s other half in 24. The only one who’s a bit dull is our Canadian heroine.
Presented in the 16:9, while there’s good direction to be seen, the picture is only okay. I’m used to viewing HD pictures these days, so I tend to avoid DVDs, but the reason I’m reviewing this on a DVD is because the Blu-ray review copy was faulty and wouldn’t play. So, it’s a fairly soft-looking picture by comparison. In fact, even regular Freeview looks more sharp. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
The sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and you do get good value from the club scenes, of which there are a fair few, as the subwoofer gets a nice workout, even from the main menu.
The extras are as follows:
- Deleted scenes (15:37): Ten here, and not with any real titles.
None of them *need* to be put back in, although they do make for nice additions. That said, I would definitely include the ninth segment, regarding coffee, which also includes a cameo from Irvine Welsh, as it’s very amusing.
- Character teasers: Brief 30-second-or-so segments featuring most of the key cast members.
- Director’s commentary: For those who like that sort of thing.
- Trailer (1:56): In 16:9, and it doesn’t give anything away as there’s no major plot to be spoiled anyway.
The menu has static images of the cast with the usual options, but the problems start with a lack of subtitles. The dialogue is in very strong Scottish and you have to rewind a lot of the scenes to catch everything that’s been said.
To add insult to injury, there’s only the bare basics of chapters with 12. Why are Kaleidoscope doing the same as Momentum, Optimum et al? Give us more! You’re not paying by the chapter!
And to add insult to insult to injury, another of my bug-bears also comes up with this disc as it’s another case of putting trailers before the main menu, like a rental video from the 80s. Why do they do this? They should be in the extras menu – the trailers at least, and nowhere else. You pay for the disc and you don’t need extra advertisements as if you’re in the cinema. As such, I’m not mentinoing them.
Running time: 96 minutes
Cat no: KAL8190
Distributor: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Released: August 20th 2012
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format: DVD9
Director: Rob Heydon
Producers: Rob Heydon
Screenplay: Rob Heydon and Ben Tucker (from the novel “Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance” by Irvine Welsh)
Music: Craig McConnell
Lloyd Buist: Adam Sinclair
Heather Thompson: Kristin Kreuk
Woodsy: Billy Boyd
Solo: Carlo Rota
Hazel: Olivia Andrup
Ally: Keram Malicki-Sánchez
Marie: Natalie Brown
Jim Buist: Stephen McHattie
Hugh Thompson: Dean McDermott
Father Brian: Colin Mochrie
Dr. Figg: Alex Lifeson
Mr. Case: Shaun Austin-Olsen
Dealer: Luke Gordon
Sven: Stefen Hayes
The Lassie with the Pink Hair: Alison Huot
The Big Man: Ashley Pover
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.