Can it really be 15 years since the awesome Trainspotting put Scotland and drugs on the big screen in a smart, funny and engaging masterpiece based on the ground-breaking novel by Irvine Welsh?
Welsh followed up Trainspotting with a string of less successful novels in a similar style, and these included Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance in 1996.
It tried hard to be a ‘Trainspotting for the E generation’ and now we have the cinematic adaptation of one of its short stories, The Undefeated…
‘Don’t do drugs’ is the message being drummed into a generation and Welsh has fun sniping at the oppressive government’s policy to crack down on chemically-induced happiness, but it all feels a bit ‘been there and seen this before.’
Anyway, meet Lloyd (Adam ‘Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj’ Sinclair) – pushing 30 and living for the weekend.
He earns a crust smuggling Es from Amsterdam for dodgy club boss Solo (Carlo ‘Saw V’ Rota), his life mostly a blur of drugged up happiness.
But despite the drugs, music and frantic sex with younger women – pick of the bunch being gorgeous newcomer Olivia Andrup as party girl Hazel – Lloyd’s life is shallow and unfulfilling.
Everything changes when he meets and falls for classy Canadian Heather (Kristin ‘Chuck’ Kreuk), who is trapped in a rubbish marriage to a pig headed loser and quite likes the novelty of the club scene. Is there love in the offing or will the drugs get in the way?
I remember reading the novel when it came out and being a little disappointed – and that’s exactly how I felt about the film version as well.
Director Rob Heydon plods through Welsh’s material in a worryingly pedestrian style.
It’s easy to spot what’s coming next just by noticing who gets introduced at the start.
The club scenes are probably the highlights, and the soundtrack features some great tunes from the likes of Orbital and Primal Scream.
But you can only take so many shots of people jumping around pretending to be off their nuts before you just get a bit bored.
So the wait for a really decent follow up to Trainspotting continues but there is a growing buzz around Filth, also based on a Welsh novel, which will be with us soon.
Overall Ecstasy is a trip you don’t need to take. It begins with a mild high but soon the rush wears off and all you’re left with is regret at having wasted your cash and a headache.