Happily married Heather (Kristin Kreuk) meets hard partying Lloyd (Adam Sinclair) at a nightclub. Heather frees herself from her husband, but can Lloyd free himself from drugs?

Based on the book by Scottish author Irvine Welsh.

2.5
Same old story in love of the drugs drama.

BYRON BAY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: A collection of three novellas by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh that came out in 1996, the original Ecstasy marked the uneasy moment where the artist canonised as the Poet Laureate of the Chemical Generation turned out to be a brand that was listing. Two thirds of the book proved to be sensationalism masquerading as social satire, with the other work, The Undefeated, proving to be a listless narrative about two people offered a final chance at genuine love against a backdrop of Scottish raves. Welsh, like the book’s preferred narcotic, was big on the rush and peak, but the comedown was rough and sometimes debilitating.

With his debut feature, which is liberally expanded from The Undefeated but given the book’s name, Canadian filmmaker Rob Heydon delivers a picture that above all reminds you how astute the likes of director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge were in adapting Welsh’s Trainspotting. They used the source material as just that, and broke off into their own splintered recognition of Welsh’s prose; they read him as a tragic comedy, leaving room for his underground bravado to be undercut even as it rattled along.

Heydon, who co-wrote this film with Ben Tucker, identifies with the euphoric build of electronic dance music and how it subsumes a Welsh rant. 'Serotonin and dopamine until the end of time," declares Lloyd (Adam Sinclair), an ageing Glasgow chancer who finds deliverance every night on the dancefloor with his friends but invariably returns each day to an alcoholic, widowed father he can’t communicate with (Stephen McHattie) and a debt to local gangster Solo (Carlo Rota) that he services by smuggling drugs in from Amsterdam.

The movie is taken with the frequency grinding release offered by this nocturnal scene, and for much of the film it’s an invitation to wide-eyed dedication and comic misadventures. Little of it, despite Welsh’s blackly comic extremism, is particularly original after two generations of British club culture movies, and despite moodily trooping all over Glasgow and conversing with his friends, the level-headed Ally (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) and the E advocate Woodsy (Billy Boyd), Lloyd doesn't appear to care about a solution, nor does the movie.

Change appears in the form of Heather (Kristin Kreuk), a more straitlaced young woman who works for the community organisation Scotland Against Narcotics (very subtle) and has just fled a vaguely terrible husband. She succumbs quickly to Lloyd’s world, but struggles to bring him back to her own. 'I’m real when I’m high," he argues, but the movie is quick to cut Lloyd down, pursuing a redemptive final act that throws in a slew of melodramatic turning points, including a funeral and a confrontation with the maniacal Solo.

Adam Sinclair has the ratty unease of Lloyd down pat, but Kreuk is sold horribly short by a script that can only appear to view her life through well-worn worldviews; the female voice has never come easily to Welsh, and Ectsasy is no different. After a selection of strobed out examples, the camera swaying into another discombobulation of the senses is less a celebration than a cheerful condemnation, but it’s hard to believe that such an approach is arrived at knowingly. At one point Lloyd tries to give his disconsolate father a tab of ecstasy, reasoning that it’s a better substance than the ones he’s killing himself with, and in a certain way the film tries to push itself on the audience. Serotonin and dopamine dissipate long before the end of time, and so does this middling film.