IRVINE WELSH'S ECSTASY
Married Heather (Kristin Kreuk) meets single & party loving Lloyd (Adam Sinclair) at a nightclub. Heather leaves her husband, but Lloyd finds it harder to give up drugs.
Review by Louise Keller:
Getting a fix on reality is the challenge in this exploration of truth, lies and ecstasy set in the Edinburgh drug and club scene. Written by Irvine Welsh, whose first novel Trainspotting (1996) elevated him to cult status, the film's pulse beats strongly through its nightclub rave scenes, where its protagonist Lloyd (Adam Sinclair) feels most at home. The crowd is jumping, the lights are flashing and the music pounds relentlessly. While director Rob Heydon's adaptation and treatment of Welsh's novellas Three Tales of Chemical Romance perfectly captures the claustrophobic essence of the scene it depicts in a world without light, the curve of the exposition is not great enough to satisfy, despite an alluring love interest whose beauty is at odds with the ugliness surrounding it.
We quickly get a look at life from Lloyd's point of view. Ecstasy is the centre of his life - it provides for him financially and gives him a lifestyle to which he is addicted. 'Pure magic' is how he describes it and the response it brings; according to Lloyd, it is boredom and indifference that kills. He hangs out with a like-minded crowd who are into clubbing, popping pills, smoking dope and generally living in a world where being high is nirvana. It is when Lloyd heads to Amsterdam and samples a new batch of cocaine (washed down with Moroccan Mint Tea) that we learn he is a drug mule.
Back in Edinburgh, we watch people getting high, the camera swirls and lingers as time stands still for the participants. Passions run hot, clothes are shed with the urgency of desire, followed by graphic sex scenes in which the participants are locked in their own ecstasies. Time passes in fast motion - cars rush past, pigeons take flight and men walk up and down the ever-overcast, damp streets. Her beauty aside, Kristin Kreuk stands out as Heather, the gorgeous Canadian Lloyd meets while clubbing. She might want to forget but she happens to work for Scotland Against Narcotics.
The film's best scene is the intimate conversation between Lloyd and Heather after they have made love and prolonged the closeness in a leisurely bath. He wants to go clubbing; she wants to talk about what she calls the small things - fears, desires, feelings. You're a fake, she tells Lloyd when he says he is not good company without drugs. She is wearing a towel; he is wearing his underwear. It is their souls that become exposed as they exchange secrets involving lies, fathers, library books and poetry.
The heavy Scottish brogue makes some of the dialogue hard to understand but there is no mistaking the heavy handed tactics of the narcotics dealers, when it comes to getting their money. There's a story strand involving Lloyd's alcoholic, demented father who is unable to accept the death of his wife, but it is Lloyd's story and his decisions that form the mainstay of the film. There is far more agony than ecstasy in this portrayal of the drug scene, exemplified by the one last trip to Amsterdam and its consequences.
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IRVINE WELSH'S ECSTACY (MA15+)
CAST: Adam Sinclair, Kristin Kreuk, Billy Boyd, Carlo Rota, Ashley Pover, Karem Malicki-Sanchez, Olivia Andrup, Natalie Brown, Stephen McHattie, Dean McDermott
PRODUCER: Rob Heydon
DIRECTOR: Rob Heydon
SCRIPT: Rob Heydon, Ben Tucker (book Three Tales of Chemical Romances by Irvine Welsh)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brad Hruboska
EDITOR: Jeremiah Munce
MUSIC: Craig McConnell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Eric Deros
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Potential Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 25, 2012
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.