2 out of 10
Release Date: 20th April 2012
Director: Rob Heydon
Cast: Adam Sinclair, Kristin Kreuk, Billy Boyd, Carlo Rota, Keram Maliki Sanchez with Dean McDermott and Stephen McHattie
Writer: Irvine Welsh
There’s a scene in Ecstasy that sums up all comparisons to Trainspotting. Our hero, Lloyd (ADAM SINCLAIR) ambles down a stairway and stops on a corner to check that no traffic is coming. It’s all very subtle but the eagle eyed film nerd will have noticed that this is the same staircase that Renton and Spud get chased down and almost hit by traffic in the ‘hell for leather’ opening to said triumphant earlier film. And here’s the problem. Where Trainspotting was a frenetic game changer, Ecstasy can barely muster enough courage to compete and better it. Ecstasy features a bunch of tired, seen-it-all before cliches. Character monologues try to sell us club life like it was still 1988, but sadly they come across as sad has-beens with no clue. Lloyd owes a lot of money to drug dealer heavy, Solo (CARLO ROTA – SAW 5), one of many Canadian actors mangling the Scots accent. He also meets the love of his life, a recently separated married Canadian, Heather (KRISTIN KREUK – STREETFIGHTER 2), who wants to see if he still loves her when he’s straight and not on one of his constant highs. In short is their love real or the product of all the drugs? All of this and she works for the Narcotics squad at Edinburgh’s Police HQ. Quite why as this is never exploited plot wise is anyone’s guess. Billy Boyd (THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY) also pops up to little effect to get sectioned in a mental asylum. Off-key lively performance, wrong film.
All in all, it just goes through the motions to boring effect. Never has a film about club culture and it’s life styles been such a clunker. Compared to the recent and also far from perfect Weekender this is about as lively as the Queen’s Speech. And because it’s a co-production with Canada, most of the cast are Canadians who are too busy struggling with the local accent to put in good performances. Probably the best out of the Canucks is Carlo Rota, but he’s nowhere near perfect. With all the talented Scottish actors doing the rounds this seems like a really weird choice to import so many out of towners. Stephen McHattie (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE), who is a well established supporting actor in Hollywood, appears to be Irish, although I’m sure no one had the guts to tell him any different.
The romance is flat and there is zero chemistry between the performers. The unknown lead (to me) is competent enough but he’s saddled with such an old fashioned idiot of a character, you just want him to wake up. His predicament with the local hood seems half-arsed as well. As fearsome as Solo is there doesn’t seem to be any real peril put across. The climax is botched and cut short with a very lame sleight of hand. Perhaps it’s only Billy Boyd who escapes this one with any credibility intact with his gusto performance that only takes flight once he’s locked away. But this is a very lazy and dull adaptation. I’ve not read the book so I’m not sure how much of these facts are down to the author Irvine Welsh or not. So far we’ve had Trainspotting and inferior (but not to Ecstasy) The Acid House and now this. Only the up and coming adaptation of Filth, starring authentic Scottish actors can prove whether Trainspotting was a fluke. The film is also unclear as to whether it wants to endorse the use of addictive drugs like cocaine and ecstasy? It’s a mixed message we get by the end. But then why should every movie be burdened with a moral? I think there isn’t one here through oversight and incompetency.
2 out 10 – It’s all very old hat from where I’m sitting. Tired and lazy adaptation but how much is down to the original story is unknown because I never read the book. This film is hindered by indifferent performances from Canadian (?) actors. The last ten years of Last Of The Summer Wine is more livelier.
Make some noise! Boooooooo! Get off!!!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Adam Sinclair: 24 (TV), Nina’s Heavenly Delights
- Kristin Kreuk: Smallville (TV), Streetfighter 2: The Legend of Chun-Li, Euro Trip
- Billy Boyd: White Island, Pimp, On A Clear Day, Child’s Play 6 (voice), Master & Commander – The Far Side Of The World, Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, Lord of theRings: The Two Towers, Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Ring
- Carlo Rota: Breaking Bad (TV), Brick Mansions, 24 (TV), The Little Mosque On The Prairie (TV), Saw 5
- Keram Malicki Sanchez: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2012), Cherry Falls
- Dean McDermott: The Skulls 3
- Stephen McHattie: The Tall Man, Immortals (2011), 2012, Pontypool, A History Of Violence, The Fountain, Shoot Em Up, 300, The Watchmen, Beverly Hills Cop 3, Geronimo, Beauty & The Beast (TV)