Starring Adam Sinclair, Kristin Kreuk. Written by Rob Heydon, Ben Tucker. Directed by Rob Heydon. 18A. 104 min. Opens Nov. 23.
Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy is agony—that is, unless having a cast of Scottish and Canadian actors hurling epithets at each other like rocks is your idea of a good time. If writer-director Rob Heydon was looking to distinguish his film from Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, it probably wasn’t a good idea to give it a similarly brash, motormouthed voice-over. From the moment that low-level Edinburgh dealer Lloyd (Adam Sinclair) starts ranting about the ins and outs of a chemically accelerated lifestyle, it feels as if we’re bearing witness to a rip-off.
Heydon doesn’t have Boyle’s high-spirited style, however, and despite a pounding techno soundtrack the film is rather static and dull. The characters are all defined by their personal ruts: Lloyd is trapped by his debt to a vicious dealer (Carlo Rota), his father (Stephen McHattie) is an alcoholic shut-in, and his new quasi-girlfriend Heather (Kristin Kreuk) is stuck in an unhappy upper-middle-class marriage.
It’s valid to make a movie about people who are all longing for escape, but the film itself feels locked into its various gangster-flick and rave-movie tropes. It doesn’t help that Lloyd and Heather’s romance—supposedly the crux of the picture—is established mostly via montage, or that the would-be ironies of the script are so blunt. (For example, Heather works for an anti-drug agency.) It may be that by adapting only one of the three stories in Welsh’s 1996 book, Heydon basically guaranteed himself that the film would be thin—indeed, for all its sound and fury, Ecstasy feels like it’s barely there.