Ecstasy is a low-rent Human Traffic that came 13 years late

FILM
ECSTASY
Cert 18 | By Steve Dinneen
**

Almost two decades since Trainspotting was released, Irvine Welsh is once again the man of the moment. His prequel to that groundbreaking novel, Skagboys, is just out (doing little to dispel the claim he’s just a one-trick pony) and now he’s back on the big screen with an adaptation of his trilogy of novellas, Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance. It will do nothing to appease his critics.

Director Rob Heydon takes the longest – and weakest – of the three stories and weaves it into a run-of-the-mill gangster yarn with a bolt-on love story.

Ecstasy’s characters are woefully two-dimensional: either good guys or unspeakably awful guys. The love-interest – and that is the sum-total of Heather Thompson’s role in the proceedings – never looks less than immaculate, despite discovering a fondness for all-night parties and recreational drug use. She grins nervously throughout the movie like a sexually awakening fawn, speaking in a hushed whisper that gives the impression she’s forever on the cusp of a gigantic orgasm.

Ecstasy is filled with ‘90s clubbing references, with John Digweed starring as himself and Tiësto thundering from the speakers. Every 10 minutes there’s a scene featuring lots of pretty, sweaty people dancing and tripping out of their minds, usually cut with moody montages of sunrises over Edinburgh and pretty, sweaty people smoking.

Every once in a while there is a recognisably Welshian speech about the nature of drugs and working class society but it rarely feels like anything but Trainspotting-lite.

In the end it amounts to little more than a second-rate Human Traffic that arrived 13 years too late, barely worth a footnote in the ongoing story of Irvine Welsh.

FILMS IN BRIEF
ELLES
Cert 18 | By Stevie Martin
**

A WEIRD mixture of sex and the mundane, Elles casts Juliette Binoche as a stressed journalist working on a story of two girls moonlighting as prostitutes. It becomes clear these girls' worlds aren’t that different from her own, which involves struggling to meet deadlines and coming second to her high-flying husband. Binoche gives a bold performance but the heavy-handed film falls flat.

Lockout
Cert 15 | By Stevie Martin
**

OH GUY Pearce, you’re so much better than this. Set in the near future, Lockout follows an ex-government agent (Pearce), whose one chance at freedom lies in rescuing the President's daughter from out of control convicts at an outer space maximum-security prison. Alas, it is lacking in a single original quip or concept; just another high-octane-but-oddly-dull vessel, immediately forgotten the moment the credits roll.

Related articles