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:: Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy

Irvine Welsh is perhaps one of this generation’s most underrated authors. While in a hundred years time schools may not be reading his work in the way we do Shakespeare, it is fair to say that his work captures life in 90’s and 2000s in a way that very few others can even dream about. Now another piece of his literature has been turned into a film. Adapted from Welsh’s short story The Undefeated, Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy is like again wondering into the world of Trainspotting, only this time ecstasy rather than heroin is the drug of choose.

Set in current day Edinburgh the film follows three friends, Lloyd Buist (Adam Sinclair), Woodsy (Billy Boyd) and Ally (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) all who are frequent drug takers, but all have a different view of drugs. Woodsy believes drugs are a religion despite the fact they are causing him to dip into schizophrenia, Ally does it because his mates do but is desperate for a healthy lifestyle, while it seems Lloyd no longer knows what life is like without them. Lloyd’s fascination with drugs then lands him in trouble when he feels it is time to branch out and become a rival to Solo (Carlo Rota). Solo comes after Lloyd, his friends and the new love-of-his-life, Heather Thompson (Kristin Kreuk).

Through a witty script and some good directing from Rob Heydon the power of this film comes through by the fact that you find yourself caring for the characters despite the fact they are what many would describe as ‘scum of the community’. The script allows for some dramatic moments that places the characters in danger and while many out there will be quick to judge the moral of the film they should perhaps watch to the end because there is no way that this film is promoting drug use, in fact you could well argue that it is doing the exact opposite.

Heydon’s choice of giving this film a real Trainspotting feel is likely to split audiences though. Some will see it as ‘borrowing’ from Danny Boyle while others will see that this is perhaps the only way to capture Irvine Welsh’s work for the big screen. One thing that Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy does share with its older cousin is a kick-ass soundtrack. The music does capture the essence of the film and Heydon uses it well with montages that show that he has what it takes to make it as a director.

Aside from announcing Heydon to the world the film will also launch Adam Sinclair’s career. So far he’s been slumming it in bombs like Van Wilder 2, but here Sinclair is a genuine star… and with looks to kill the world is his oyster. Some of the touching scenes that Sinclair portrays with his on screen father, Jim (Stephen McHattie) are emotional to watch, and while the great screenwriting helps most of the brilliance comes from Sinclair and McHattie.

Billy Boyd also does a fabulous job playing the very difficult Woodsy while Smallville fans will be relieved to see that Kristin Kreuk has finally been given a role with some teeth. Her talents have been wasted with the B-Grade work that she has been doing recently but this time they are there for all to see.

Part love story, part drug drama Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy is an absolute ripper of a film. With some great acting and one of the best scripts to surface for a while this film is an absolute must see… and you’ll be talking about for a long time to come.