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Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Subtitles Color: N/A
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: 18
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Kaleidescope
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 20, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

Canadian filmmaker Rob Heydon’s feature debut, Ecstasy (2011), is a big screen adaptation of author Irvine Welsh’s (Trainspotting) novel of the same name. While the film is a beautiful display of hip clubber style with a sleek visual aesthetic combined with the pulsating rhythms of euro-dance music, the overall impact is less than overwhelming. Heydon, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ben Tucker, has failed to create anything impactful out of this story, instead relying too heavily on style over substance. The result is what feels like an impotent attempt at capturing lightning in a bottle twice, by revisiting Welsh’s themes of crime, sex, and drug addiction amongst the outcast youth, but with no real purpose other than glorification and shallow clichés about love.

At the heart of Ecstasy is the story of Lloyd (Adam Sinclair TV’s Lip Service), a drug-addled twenty-eight-year-old in Scotland who lives for clubbing, getting high on ecstasy, and dancing to the dreamy, pulsing rhythms that DJs are spinning. He makes his living selling drugs for the snowblind crime boss Solo (Carlo Rota; TV’s World Without End; TV’s Sanctuary; TV’s 24), who in turn answers to The Big Man (Ashley Pover). When Lloyd meets the unhappily married Heather (Kristin Kreuk; TV’s Ben Hur; TV’s Chuck; TV’s Smallville) on the dance floor one night, the two immediately hit it off. Heather who is a a good girl looking for an escape from her oppressive marriage and workaday life in Scotland’s anti-drug office begins experimenting with “E” and finds the perfect companion in Lloyd, but when she begins to question whether his feelings for her are real or just fueled by the drugs, Lloyd decides to make a change in his life. It’s a decision that will have major consequences, especially when he has to make one more drug run to Amsterdam in order to pay off his debt to Solo, putting his life in jeopardy.

The film is best when Heydon is showing the psychedelic party scenes and lustful lovemaking sequences, but falls flat when it tries to build on the relationship between Lloyd and Heather, which is never really firmly established. In fact, Heather, as a character, is rather devoid of development, making it difficult to understand why she would even be with someone like Lloyd. In the end, Ecstasy is proof that you can’t go home again, so to speak. Catch Trainspotting if you want to see a superior version of where this film was trying to go.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

There’s a lot of detail and strong contrast in this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement from Kaleidescope. Although there is some video noise apparent as well as some black crush and blown out whites, it is rarely distracting from the great color reproduction. No signs of aliasing, edge enhancement, or macroblocking can be detected

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

An English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is offered here and, beware Americans, some of the Scottish accents can at times be a little bit tricky if you’re not used to them, even if the dialogue is perfectly clean and intelligible. The mix is as aggressive as I would have expected, but the driving low frequencies really thump during the numerous club scenes and the surround channels are filled with strong amounts of atmospherics. There’s a LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack available as well that seems to have a slightly stronger directional stereo mix and somewhat more forward dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The supplements offered here aren’t really worth going through other than the obligatory director’s commentary. The “Character Teasers” are just stylized poses of the actors in character with brief snippets from the film.

The supplements:

  • Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Director’s Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Character Teasers (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
    • Big Man
    • Dealer
    • Hazel
    • Heather
    • Solo
    • Lloyd
    • Woodsy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Despite a strong cast of actors that include such familiar faces as Kristin Kreuk, Billy Boyd (TV’s The Witches of Oz; TV’s Moby Dick; The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), and Carlo Rota, Ecstasy is just a middling crime drama and love story that has a sleek and hip veneer, but nothing much else beneath the surface. Rent it if you must, but it’s not worth owning.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0087P9L1E[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0087P9L1E[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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